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THE 

IMMOVABLE EAST 

STUDIES OF THE PEOPLE 
AND CUSTOMS OF PALESTINE 



BY 

PHILIP J. BALDENSPERGER 

Edited with a Biographical Introduction 

BY 

FREDERIC LEES 



WITH TWENTY-FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS 




" Slowly they wind athwart the wild, and while young Day his anthem 
swells, 
Sad falls upon my yearning ear the tinkling of the Camel-bells." 

The Kasidah of H&ji Abdii el-Yezdt. 

LONDON: SIR ISAAC PITMAN & SONS, LTD. 
No. 1 AMEN CORNER, E.C. . . . 1913 



Printed by Sir Isaac Pitmak 
& Sons, Ltd., London, Bath, 
AND New York . . 1913 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

INTRODUCTION VU 

I. THE GREY TRIO 1 

II. IN THE BEDAWIN COUNTRY 23 

III. SONS OF THE PHILISTINES 50 

IV. EHMAD IMHAMAD'S VISION 71 

V. THE GARDENS OF SOLOMON 98 

VI. MURDER AND MARRIAGE IN URTAS . . .115 

VII. IBRAHIM'S WEALTH 127 

VIII. AN EYE FOR AN EYE 139 

IX. LAIL 153 

X. CREATURES IN COUNCIL 175 

XI. THE LADY OF HER BRETHREN 197 

XII. TAX-GATHERING IN NIMRIN ....... 208 

XIII. THE WOOING OF SABHA 218 

XIV. SONG AND DANCE IN THE EAST .... 247 
XV. THEN AND NOW 278 

INDEX 297 



vx 



LIST OF ILLUSTRx\TIONS 



TOWER OF DAVID, MOUNT ZION, GIHON, AND PLAIN OF 

REPHAiM , . . . . . . Frontispiece 

facing 
page 
6 



PLOUGHING IN JUD-iEA .... 

A FELLAH AND HIS CAMELS ON THE BANKS OF THE 
A BEDAWI OF THE KISHON ... 

BY THE DEAD SEA .... 

A LINE OF CAMELS .... 

DOME OF THE ROCK, JERUSALEM 

A DERVISH ...... 

GROTTO OF ELIJAH, MT. CARMEL 

DOME OF THE ASCENSION 

MAP OF GARDENS OF SOLOMON AND ENVIRONS 

A SHEPHERD .... 

SOLOMON'S POOLS AND CARAVANSARY 

JAFFA GATE ..... 

PLAIN OF JERICHO AND DEAD SEA, FROM OLIVET 

BEDAwIn TENT, VALLEY OF ACHOR 

A STREET IN JERUSALEM 

SHEPHERD AND SHEEP, NEAR JERUSALEM . 

DAN, SOURCE OF THE JORDAN . 

SILOAM FELLAHAT GOING TO JERUSALEM 

FELLAHAT OF BATTIR GOING TO MARKET 

A NElY^, OR ZOOMARA 

NEBY MOOSA PROCESSION AND HOLY STANDARD 

TOWER OF RAMLEH .... 

MAP OF PALESTINE ..... 



KISHON 



12 

32 

40 

56 

68 

74 

90 

94 

100 

102 

106 

132 

140 

152 

164 

168 

178 

236 

240 

250 

266 

294 

2^6 



INTRODUCTION 

Books descriptive of the East may be roughly 
divided into three classes. First, there are the 
volumes of ** Impressions " of hterary men who 
set themselves the difficult task, after a more or 
less lengthy stay in the Orient, of faithfully 
representing Oriental scenes, manners and cus- 
toms. These are interesting principally on 
account of their authors — they are vivid, personal 
interpretations of Eastern life by men of unde- 
niable power of observation and descriptive skill. 
Intended more for the general reader than the 
student, these impressionistic studies serve the 
useful purpose of reveahng the brilliant and 
ever-fascinating surface of the East. Rarely do 
they take us to its depths. To gain a deeper 
knowledge of Orientahsm, we must go to a second 
category of books, — those written by professional 
Orientalists, whose special linguistic studies and 
extensive travels entitle them to be ranked as 
authorities. But here again these writers do not 
tell us all. They too often view the Orient through 
Occidental eyes, and in certain vital respects fail to 
paint the picture in its true colours. Only by 
Orientals — or by those whose long sojourn in the 
East has formed their minds after the Oriental 
pattern — can the Orient be adequately described. 



viii INTRODUCTION 

This third and necessarily small class of works 
is the one which must ever hold the place of 
honour on our book-shelves. 

The following essays and stories belong, I claim, 
to this last special category of Oriental literature. 
Mr. Philip J . Baldensperger, owing to the pecuhar 
circumstances of his career, is able to tell the 
story of the Fellahin and Bedawin as an Oriental 
would tell it. As his collaborator, the late Claude 
Reignier Conder, the author of Tent Work in 
Palestine^ once said, ** He is ' a voice from the 
East,' " — an accurate witness to many interesting 
and almost unknown sides of hfe in Palestine. 
Few men, as his biography shows, have had such 
excellent opportunities as he for accumulating 
facts regarding the people and customs of the 
Holy Land. 

His father, Henry Baldensperger, of Balden- 
heim, Alsatia, was sent to Jerusalem in 1848 as 
a missionary of the Basel Spittler Mission. His 
mother, from Niederbronn, Alsatia, joined his 
father soon afterwards in Jerusalem, where they 
were married. Penetrated by the behef that they 
were called, under the protection of Divine 
providence, to teach the people of Palestine better 
ways, not by preaching the Word, but by exem- 
plary life and work, Mr. and Mrs. Baldensperger 
soon left the Basel Spittler Mission to undertake 
an independent one of their own among the natives. 
They bought land and built a house in the village 



INTRODUCTION ix 

of Urtas, on the borders of the Desert of Judaea, — 
a spot where the villagers had abandoned every- 
thing for fear of the continual incursions of the 
neighbouring Ta'amry Bedawin. But on the 
Anglican Bishop Gobat founding a school for 
Arab orphan boys on Mount Zion, in Jerusalem, 
he appealed to the Baldenspergers for temporary 
help as stewards, and it was only forty-four years 
afterwards that they retired again to Urtas. 
Meanwhile, their children were growing up. Philip 
Baldensperger was bom on June 5th, 1856, in 
Zion's School, built on the ruins and rockscarp 
of an old fortress attributed to King David, — 
buildings owned by the Mission, and where natives 
are still educated by the Church Missionary 
Society. Mr. Palmer, a German, was headmaster, 
and there were also native teachers for Arabic. 

The majority of the sixty or seventy boys were 
Arabs. As the school lay outside the present 
walls of Jerusalem, the pupils went to Christ's 
Church, inside the walls by Zion's Gate, on Sundays 
and feast days. The official language in the 
schoolroom was English, but Arabic was always 
used outside. Within the family circle German 
was spoken, though French was always held in 
honour. Thus did Philip, his brothers and sister 
become acquainted from their earliest years with 
four tongues. 

Henry Baldensperger never forgot the dream 
of his youth. In 1869 he sent Philip and an elder 



X INTRODUCTION 

brother to Uitas to survey the lands he owned in 
Phihstia, in Moab and in the Jordan Valley. 
The two youths thus passed many of their early 
days on horseback, riding across the country north 
and south, east and west, exclusively among 
Bedawin and Fellahin, in the camp and in the 
village, and considered almost as natives. 

After the Franco-Prussian War, PhiUp Balden- 
sperger volunteered to the country of his ancestors, 
in view of regaining Alsace, and was in the cavalry 
(Chasseurs de France) from 1875 to 1880. But 
he was glad to return to Palestine again, where 
from 1880 to 1892 he principally devoted himself 
to pastoral apiculture, carrying the bees from 
Jaffa to Jerusalem, or from Hebron to the Gaza 
district. His father kept bees on Zion and in 
the old castle above Solomon's Pools beyond 
Bethlehem, in the old clay hives of immemorial 
model. An English minister in search of bees, 
meeting him by chance, gave him a copy of the 
British Bee Journal, the first bee-paper he had 
ever seen. But he was too busy in the orphanage 
to devote himself to apiculture. However, when, 
later, in 1880, Mr. D. A. Jones, of Beeville, Canada, 
and Mr. Frank Benton, of the United States, came 
to Jerusalem for the study and exportation of 
Oriental bees, Henry Baldensperger was once more 
appealed to as a ** bee-keeper." Phihp's four 
brothers did not much care for the idea of this 
branoh of agriculture until he came back from 



INTRODUCTION xi 

France and went to Beyrut to meet Mr. Benton, 
with whom he stayed many months and thoroughly 
learned apiculture at the apiaries he had estab- 
lished in Cyprus and Syria for breeding queens to 
send to England and the United States. It was 
then that Philip Baldensperger's four brothers 
abandoned their other agricultural work, let out 
the family lands on hire, and devoted themselves 
exclusively to bee-keeping. The five brothers were 
associated in pastoral bee-keeping for several years, 
travelling up and down the country, carrying the 
hives and portable wooden houses on the backs 
of camels from the plains to the hills in summer, 
and back to the sea-district in winter ; camping 
and fighting the mosquitoes and the fever — a 
consequence of roaming about in unhealthy marshy 
places — as well as the vile tax-gatherers and 
Turkish officials ; now standing to face these 
despicable functionaries or escaping with bees, 
camels and everything else to another Pachahk ; 
losing bees and camels in the wildest of adventures, 
often caused by a hive suddenly thrown to the 
ground by one of the camels, spreading death 
and destruction on roads and passes, leaving 
donkey or mule dead by the wayside or pushing 
camels and horses as well as terror-stricken Arab 
assistants into caves for shelter against the 
infuriated insects. Disgusted by the officials' 
odious vexations and injustice, two of the Balden- 
sperger brothers left the country, carrying part 



xii INTRODUCTION 

of their hives and apparatus with them to Algeria. 
Another was drowned whilst bathing in the sea 
at Jaffa. Finally, Philip, exhausted by fever 
and doubtful of ever being able to change the 
mentality of the natives in the " immovable East," 
himself abandoned the task and, with his wife, 
an American whom he had married in 1883, and 
his children, came, in 1892, to Nice, leaving an 
only brother to continue bee-keeping in Palestine. 
The brothers who had gone to Algeria were soon 
glad to return home again, for Palestine is still 
" the land flowing with milk and honey." Two 
have died since Philip Baldensperger's departure 
to France, and again an only one is left, carrying 
his bees about as in the early years and with much 
better success, as the Turkish officials have become 
more accommodating. 

Naturally, Philip Baldensperger's first literary 
work concerned bees and bee-keeping. The 
British Bee Journal, Gleanings, French and German 
periodicals have pubhshed a multitude of con- 
tributions from his pen. His first article on 
Palestine appeared in 1883 in a German-Hebrew 
book, entitled Jerusalem, edited by a blind Jew, 
A. Luncz. Since 1893 he has been a regular 
contributor to the " Quarterly Statement " of 
the Palestine Exploration Fund, writing princi- 
pally on the unchangeable manners and customs 
of the people of the Holy Land. Many writers 
and travellers in the East have referred to these 



INTRODUCTION xiii 

scattered writings during the last twenty years, 
whilst Palestine Exploration Societies as well as 
authors have acknowledged the value of his 
observations. Among those who have cited him 
in their books are Mrs. A. Goodrich Freer, author 
of Inner Jerusalem, Mr. S. S. Curtiss, Professor 
of Old Testament Literature and Interpretation, 
of Chicago Theological Seminary, Professor R. A. 
Stewart Macalister, author of The Excavation of 
Gezer, and Dr. F. J. Bliss, who, on behalf of the 
Palestine Exploration Fund, collaborated with Mr. 
Macalister in exploration work in the Holy Land. 
Even in the Hebrew schools at Jerusalem some 
of Philip Baldensperger's ethnological notes serve 
as a text-book under the title The Land of Israel : 
Present and Past (" Arz Yeshrael ha-yom wa 
lafneem "), — a volume of extracts from con- 
tributions to the " Quarterly Statement " between 
1904 and 1906. 

The object of the work undertaken by Mr. 
Baldensperger and myself — and I would say at 
the outset that The Immovable East is in no way 
a rechauffe of previously published papers — is to 
give the general public the benefit of his intimate 
knowledge of Palestine, studied with the Bible 
in hand and under auspices rarely to be enjoyed 
by Europeans, since the facts here recorded can 
only be gathered in the company of natives, and 
out of the beaten track of tourists, who only hear 
and see in hotels, on railways, or with caravans 



xiv INTRODUCTION 

through the ears and eyes of their Dragomans, 
and who thus only half lift the veil which 
hangs between the Occidental visitor and the 
authentic land of the Bible — a land which is not 
even known to the modem Jews themselves. 
Our aim is also to show how intimately the three 
Mediterranean religions have taken root in the 
same country, on the same traditions and in the 
same language, basing their unity on the remote 
past, still hngering in one common belief, in the 
Jew, Christian or Mohammedan, not only as 
regards the shrines of Abraham and the patriarchs, 
Rachel, the prophets Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah, 
Zechariah, and so forth, — equally venerated by 
the three, — but in addition in a more immovable 
form in the occult world, or ghost-land, which 
differs from that of the past not even in smallest 
details. Just as Saul himself, when officially 
persecuting wizards and witches, went secretly 
to enquire of the witch at Endor, who brought 
up the "gods ascending out of the earth" (I. 
Samuel xxviii. 13-14) and Samuel in a mantle, 
so will the modern Canaanites (now Moslems) 
search out those with familiar spirits, who in turn 
see Genii (or gods) arise out of the earth with green 
mantles and white beards. If a Canaanite who 
died centuries before Joshua's invasion of the 
land could arise again after a repose of 4,000 years 
and not know that Baal has been changed, his 
altars given over to Jehovah's servants, who in 



INTRODUCTION xv 

their turn handed them on to Greeks and Romans, 
the followers of Christ, and finally to the Moslems, 
— if that Canaanite wished to visit his sanctuaries 
he would find the venerated spot on Ebal still a 
place of devotion to the Samaritan Jews (now 
only about 150 persons in all), he would see Greek 
and Roman Catholic Christians go out in pro- 
cession to Baal's altar on Mount Carmel. More- 
over, he would perceive that every movement of 
the worshippers is the same : bowing, dancing, 
knife-cutting, sacrifices to the Saint. The only 
difference he would observe would be in the name. 
Ehjah has taken the place of Baal. Rushing to 
the sacred platform of the Baal-Shamim in 
Jerusalem, again he would see numerous pilgrims 
in gaudy dresses sacrificing to AUah and his 
prophet Mohammed. He would avoid big centres 
to see his " green heights " far away from modern 
Moslem and Christian civilisation and look for 
the statue in the temple of Ashteroth in the lovely 
grove on the hill beyond the plain of Rephaim. 
Quietly he would enter and gladly see that nothing 
is changed. The small oil lamp in honour of 
his beloved goddess is still burning in the niche, 
but it is the Bedariyeh, the Moslem Aurora, who 
has taken the weU-known place. Flying through 
the air, he would go north to Safed and find Jews 
dancing wildly around their sanctuaries, throwing 
shawls and clothing into the fire, drinking and 
howling, certainly in honour of Baal. How strange 



xvi INTRODUCTION 

that Canaanite's experience would be, and yet 
how very famihar everything would be to him ! 
The towns bear the same names, the ancient 
sacred spots are still venerated, the holy waters 
are stiU visited, even if the saint has slightly 
changed his name. No, after aU, our Canaanite 
could not, I think, but feel quite at home. The 
houses are built in the same way as when he trod 
the earth, the furniture is the same, the people, in 
spite of an outward change of reUgion, think just 
as his ancestors thought when Canaan was a land 
of many kings. If he were to go to Salem to see 
if some hospitable Melchisedek, Priest of the Most 
High, would offer the Stranger bread and drink 
as was the habit in his days (Genesis xiv. 18), 
he would find that an astonished Abd-el-^Hei-ben 
Sadek, a Moslem Imam, would offer him hospitality 
in the old, old way on the roof of the mosque. If he 
were to remember the small salt lake in the south 
which by its underground volcanoes on the Plain 
of Siddim encroached on the surrounding towns, 
destroying parts here and there, forming bitumen 
pits into which strangers slipped easily (Genesis 
xiv. 10), he would wonder, on finding the immense 
sea some forty miles in length and nine in 
breadth, what has happened. But shades of the 
Sodomites of the catastrophe period would join 
him and tell him that in the " immovable East " 
even this Dead Sea continues as in his days to 
destroy first the four towns and later on Zoar, 



INTRODUCTION xvii 

and that it is still killing and destroying animal 
life, forests and inhabitants, so that for miles and 
miles every town and village has disappeared. 
Then would the ghostly Stranger acknowledge 
that this land is reaUy his own Canaan, and would 
retire contented to await the time when, centuries 
hence, he will make another tour of inspection. 

Finally, our object has been to show that if a 
few names of places have been changed and 
confused, as Salem and Morah in Samaria, which 
were transported to Jerusalem, and Moriah in 
Judea for political reasons, yet thousands of 
villages hav€ retained their names in Bethel, 
Bethlehem, Beersheba, Hebron, Gaza, Jaffa and 
Akka. Moreover, ancient manners and customs, 
parts of clothing, articles of common use and 
household furniture are still to be seen in spite 
of terrible and lengthy invasions from Egypt 
and Assyria, Greece and Rome, and in spite of 
the struggle between the Crescent and the Cross. 
The old Canaanite and his habits have outlived 
every nation and religion with their vices and 
their virtues. His was the most tenacious of all 
races. His descendents still reward in the old 
way, giving animals as a recompense, like Pharaoh 
and Abimelech (Genesis xx. 14), or changes of 
garment, as Naaman, the Syrian, did to Gehazi 
(II. Kings xxxiii. 4) ; burying the dead near 
sanctuaries, hke the patriarchs in Macpelah out 
of the sight of the camp (Genesis xxiii. 4) ; 

2 — (2131) 



xviii INTRODUCTION 

paying for brides or serving a term of seven years 
as shepherds (Genesis xxix. 20) ; writing verses 
on their standards according to the ancestor's 
signs and colours, hke the tribes in the desert 
(Numbers ii. 2) ; or leading the sacrifice to a 
sanctuary for a vow, just like Samuel did in 
Bethlehem (I. Samuel xvi. 5). Travellers in 
Palestine can still find the prisons near Governors' 
palaces in every important town and see prisoners 
unshaven and unkempt, like Joseph or Jeremiah, 
pass through Gibeah ; they can stiU visit places 
where there are unfriendly faces, — where no man, 
just as in the old days (Judges xix. 15), will 
receive the native-foreigner even for a lodging ; 
they can still, on the other hand, on going further 
south, encounter people who are as hospitable as 
in the days of the Judges. 

The ordinary visitor to the Holy Land is shown 
the so-called traditional " Holy Places," which 
very often have been invented for the necessities 
of communities established there, but he never 
or rarely steps aside to meet men hving in tents 
as Abraham and Sarah lived, or to go to marriages 
where he would see a ceremonial dating from the 
days of Jacob. It is hoped that the following 
pages will induce him to venture from the beaten 
track and discover that the Bible was really 
written in this " immovable East," and that, 
with a competent guide, he can hear for himself 
the stories of bygone days. If we succeed in 



INTRODUCTION xix 

doing that, and at the same time have written a 
useful commentary on the Bible and its days, 
we shall feel that our labour has not been in 
vain. 

Frederic Lees. 

Cagnes, A.m., December 8th, 1912. 



THE IMMOVABLE EAST 



I 

THE GREY TRIO 

I 

Palestine is the land of greyness. Not* only are 
you struck by the grey and eternal olive-trees, 
which spring up again from the roots when cut 
down and form new trees ; by the grey rocks ; the 
partridges and pigeons which climb and fly about 
the boulders in search of food, or fall a prey to 
numerous grey or dark rapacious birds, but most 
of all are you impressed by the grey-clad archaic 
Fellahin, the grey ruins on every ancient site 
and the grey quick-moving Haradin : those three 
Hving witnesses of the remote days when biblical 
events were first set down in words. ^ At almost 

1 Let me say, in explanation of a few Arabic words which are 
used throughout the following pages, that Fellah (Cultivator) 
is masculine singular, Fellaha feminine singular, Fellahin mascu- 
line plural and Fellahit feminine plural. Kliirby signifies a 
ruin and Kharaib ruins. They must not be confounded with 
Kirby and Kirrub, the singular and plural for leather water-bottle. 
Harddn and Haradin are the singular and plural forms for the 
Stellio-agamide lizard, Stellio cordylina ; whilst the singular and 
plural for shirt are Thob and Thiab. In view of the fact that the 
nomadic tribes are known to English readers as Bedouins, or 
Bedawin, I have retained the latter spelling, although the late 
Claude Reignier Conder, the author of Tent Work in Palestine 
and other invaluable works on the East, agreed with me that the 
correct form was Bedu. The feminine singular of this word is 
Bedawiye, the feminine plural Bedawiyat. 



2 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

every step, when you go to the denuded grey hills 
of the Holy Land, do you meet this grey and well- 
nigh inseparable trio. Within the shelter of a 
ruin, perched on a hillock or mountain top and 
telling the eternal tale of grandeur and decadence, 
the Fellah makes his home and installs his herds. 
Man and beast live in close community. A single 
room serves as kitchen, reception-room and bed- 
chamber, — a room provided very often with but 
one door and only occasionally a window, and the 
floor of which consists of two levels : the upper 
one for the owner, stretched, at night, on a straw 
mat or a carpet, the lower one for the animals. 
Sometimes, during the long winter nights, the 
latter are sheltered in a neighbouring cave, but 
more often the shepherd and his flocks are together 
in the same chimneyless, smoky habitation. An 
enclosure, protected by thorny hedges, surrounds 
them, and there, in the midst of refuse and manure 
and vermin, they live in peace and contentment, 
side by side with their faithful companion the 
Harden. You can see him on any sunny day, if 
you are careful to watch long enough and quietly, 
on the look-out for flies and insects near the dung- 
hill ; or else, lying at the top of a conspicuous stone 
or rock, shaking the fore part of his body and lifting 
his triangular head as though in a trembhng fit- 
of prayer, until, warned by a sound of your pre- 
sence, he darts away and hides in his hole in the 
crumbling ruins. 



THE SEVEN NATIONS 3 

Nothing is so worthy of study, on the part of 
those who seek an illustration of the Bible nar- 
rative, as this grey trio. For is it not evident that 
the Book was written by immediate ancestors of 
the Fellahin ? Are not the Fellahin themselves 
and their ruins the best proof of this ? Do not 
even the exaggerations and mystico-religious tales 
of the Bible point to the same conclusion ? — But 
how comes it, then, that Jeremiah, Amos, Micah 
and other lesser prophets, who give us the most 
minute and accurate descriptions of nearly every- 
thing else, never mention the Fellahin ? The 
omission is, I think, easily explainable. 

It is said that when the Israelites under Joshua 
invaded Palestine they found seven principal 
nations occupying the southern and central moun- 
tains, — nations which, in order to show the great- 
ness of the conquest, were enumerated as Amorites, 
Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, Canaanites, Rephaims 
and Jebusites. But in my opinion these so-caUed 
nations were but groups of a single race, generally 
designated as Amorites, — tribes exercising differ- 
ent employments in one social agglomeration, with 
commanders or kings at every important town. 
The Amorites, or Speakers, were the leading fami- 
lies, who discussed the convenience of declaring 
war or of resisting the onslaughts of an enemy. 
The Hittites were the soldiers, ready to fight the 
nation's battles at a moment's warning. The 
Perizzites, or Villagers, were the peaceful country 



4 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

folk, willing to take up arms, if necessary, but 
usually merely asking to be allowed to work and 
live tranquilly under their vines and fig-trees. The 
Hivites, or Encerclers, belonged to the Dervish 
class, were skilled in the art of magic and, like the 
modern Hawi, were serpent-charmers. The 
Canaanites — an important factor in the national 
life — were merchants, carrying goods and news 
from place to place. The Rephaims, or Giants, 
were the healers ; they were also called Jabburim, 
and, like the modern Jabbar, excelled in the art 
of curing broken limbs. Finally, the Jebusites 
were, as their name implies, the Drylanders, — 
a group worthy of mention not because they were 
more of a nation than the inhabitants of other 
towns but because they resisted the invaders for 
at least four centuries after all Judah had come 
under Hebrew domination. 

As soon as the Hebrews had settled down or 
been absorbed by the older inhabitants, the people 
of Palestine mostly lived in a Perez, or village, 
and became an agricultural nation. But the 
name under which they were known — Perizzites — 
was a term of scorn, used to designate idolaters 
and enemies of the new regime. ^ It was not until 

* History furnishes us with many similar examples of the ori- 
ginal name of agriculturist being used to indicate people of past 
religions and as synonymous with anti-progressist. In England 
the refractory inhabitants of the heath were denominated as 
heathen ; in Germany, they became Heide ; in France the dweller 
in the country {pays) became a paysan, or, as he was called in old 
French, a paten, — a pagan. 



THE KAFIR 5 

later, when they had adopted the name of Hebrews 
or Israehtes as a whole, that their name was 
changed into that of Fellahin. Their story formed 
a parallel to that of the villagers of Arabia. These 
inhabitants of the Kefr, on Mohammed proclaiming 
Islam from the towns of Mecca and Medina, were 
at first refractory to the new faith, with the result 
that every infidel was styled an agriculturist or 
Kafir. But on the whole nation adopting the 
Prophet's teachings the term of opprobrium was 
changed to that of cultivator, — they became 
Fellahin, a word based on the verb filhy to 
cultivate. 

There was no place in the new Israelitic nation 
for the ambitious Amorite or the warlike Hittite, 
and the only wish of the Perizzite was to live in 
peace in the home of his forefathers, carrying on 
traditions, cementing his attachment to the soil, 
sacrificing in the Makam, or High-place, or Wely, 
going to every green tree, — in short, continuing 
the old forms of worship, praying to the presiding 
genius, with a slight change, sometimes, in the 
name, but caring little whether it was before a 
statue of some Baal or an invisible one called 
Sidna ^Ali or Sheikh 'Alem. Invasions swept 
over towns, the Amorites and the Jebusites 
disappeared, but the poor and continually robbed 
Perizzite clung fast to his crumbling ruins. Like 
the grey lichens on the old stones, he remained 
attached to the cradle of his ancestors, disdained 



6 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

by the proud horseman, who, following the easier 
roads of the valleys, rarely visited the almost 
inaccessible and barren heights. Submitting out- 
wardly to passing lords and masters, whose very 
tongue was unknown to him, the Perizzite remained 
faithful about the hearth and in the smoke-filled 
low rooms of his ruined home to the ways of his 
forefathers. We find the former niche of the idol 
represented by the Makam, and the modem 
Fellah " hears the voice " as distinctly as 
Moses or Joshua did, and " puts off his shoes 
from off his feet, for the place whereon he 
stands is holy ground." ^ Never will he venture 
into the sanctuary with shoes which have gathered 
dust and impurities all along his way. Thus 
were traditional sites and ceremonies handed down, 
and thus are we able to study the immovable 
characteristics of the Fellahin of Palestine, — char- 
acteristics which may perhaps (who can say ?) 
be about to succumb now, as the overflowing 
populations of the Occident strive to fill the 
uninhabited corners of the earth and overthrow 
traditions which have resisted foreign influence 
for thousands of years. 

II 

Legend relates that, when Islam was founded, a 
man had four sons and gave to each of them 
according to his desire. The eldest was Abu 

* Exodus iii. 5. 







to/) 



A TRUE TRADITIONALIST 7 

Ehmad, the Fellah, who asked for a cow and a 
plough, and became the father of the Fellahin. 
Abu Razek, the next, asked for a shop and became 
the father of town and city traders. Abu Othman, 
the third, received a horse and was the father of 
the intrepid Ottoman horsemen. Abu Swelem, 
the last, rode off on a camel and became the 
chief of the camel-possessing Bedawin. ^ Evidently 
Abu Ehmad is the most ancient inhabitant of 
Palestine and has held to traditions much more 
than his brothers the horsemen and traders. A 
true son of the soil, he is distrustful of outsiders 
and, like the Harden, retires behind his crumbling 
ruins at the approach of a horseman. The 
Jindy, or Gendarme, is never the bringer of good 
news. He looks for culprits, announces that 
taxes are to be gathered, counts the heads of cattle 
and sheep, or inquires about the young men who 
are fit for military service. Abu Ehmad, though 
not a bit revolutionary, is a hater of innovations ; 
his only wish is to be left under his vine and 
fig-tree undisturbed, as in the days when there 
was no king in Israel. He cares nothing about 
immense financial speculations, the preparation 
of formidable arsenals of war, the sinking of mines, 
the construction of factories and the building of 
houses possessing hygienic conditions. He seeks 
neither to accumulate incommensurable wealth 

1 Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Exploration Fund, 
January, 1903. 



8 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

nor to obtain even a modicum of comfort. He is 
ignorant of modern astronomy and geology, 
history and geography, zoology and microbiology, 
in an Occidental sense. But he is sober to the 
extreme. Never does he use wine or strong drink, 
as he was commanded by Jonadab the son of 
Rechab. * He would be unable to understand 
if you told him that milhons are annually expended 
in the Occident at cafes, pubUc-houses and saloons. 
A single tiny cup of coffee is almost luxury to him ; 
his everyday meal consists of a simple plate of 
rice, with fresh meat and a few vegetables only on 
rare and quite extraordinary occasions. 

The steep, rough and rocky roads have been the 
Fellah's best auxiUary for keeping away foreigners 
and holding ideas in check for centuries. Watch him 
as he drives his camels up and down these terrible 
roads and you will no longer wonder that progress 
has been so slow. He is continually reminding 
his beasts of burden not to stumble. *' Ikhly ! — 
Look out, mind the stones ! " " Allah ! — 
May God protect thee ! " " Mahlak ! — Slow 
up!" "Ya Hafed!— Oh Guardian!" and 
similar exclamations are repeated every few yards. 
But the roads — never mended, the result of 
centuries of footsteps and of infinite patience, for 
does not the Fellah say " El Ajjaly min esh- 
Shitan ? — Allah is with the patient and hurry 
is from Satan " — are quite as good as he desires. 

* Jeremiah xxxv. 6. , 




ROUGH ROADS 9 

hey are full of convenient holes, made by genera- 
tion after generation of animals, and which prevent 
them from shpping. The camels, with their soft 
feet and ever mobile head and eyes, are ever on the 
look out for the best place ^to step into, whilst 
donkeys and cattle know exactly every excavation 
or protuberance as they slowly march along. 
Besides, these rough ways serve another purpose. 
No one can approach the villages unawares. For ^* 
centuries past the villagers have heard the strug- ^ 
gUng efforts of horsemen as they drew nearer, 
have seen, in the darkness of the night, the sparks 
fly from the rocks when struck by their horses' 
shoes. 

Who can doubt that the ancient Perizzite climbed 
these hills with the same resignation as the modern 
Fellah, and in the identical costume we see to-day ? 
Who can doubt, after a sufficiently long residence 
in the midst of the Fellahat, that the Perizzite 
women thus went down, with gay laughter, to the 
spring at the foot of the hill, carrying, besides the 
well-balanced jar on the head, or the Kirby on the 
back, the family clothes, to be beaten on the smooth 
stones of the stream and rid of their accumulation 
of sweat, fleas and smoke ? Did not the ances- 
tresses of this Fellaha girl thus lift their skirts 
to the knees and ask permission of the Water- 
genius to step in ? Watch her. As she arrives 
at the edge of the brook she at once drops her 
bundle of clothes and the Kirby and proceeds to 



10 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

her toilet. After knotting her long sleeves together 
and throwing them behind her back, leaving 
her brown and well-proportioned arms bare to 
above the elbows, she rubs her small feet and 
rounded calves vigorously ; then, with her joined 
hollowed hands she throws the fresh water — her 
silver and glass bracelets tinkling musically — 
into her weather-browned face. She dries herself 
with her long veil, and when this is done begins, 
with rhythmic blows, the work of the day. By the 
time the clothes are washed and rinsed the dry 
Kirby is soaked through and through. Dexter- 
ously, with one hand, the neck is opened, and 
rapidly, with the right hollowed hand, water is 
thrown into the leather bottle. When full, a 
rope is attached to the top and the bottom, and 
upon her back — hke a soldier's knapsack — it is 
carried home to quench the thirst of the 
household. 

Ill 

As a rule, the Fellahin are dark brown, black- 
haired and have long, broad beards, differing in 
this respect from the Bedawin, whose beards are 
scanty and adorn the chin only. Certainly, in a 
country so often invaded by outsiders, there is a 
tinge of foreign blood. Here and there, and 
especially near big centres, you may be surprised 
to meet fair or even red-haired individuals. But 
the principal type is the brown one, with a thick. 



PEASANT COSTUMES 11 

hooked nose, a round head, thick lips, and of 
medium height, about Im. 65 cent. The men have 
strong bones, broad shoulders, large hands, and 
are, as a rule, well in muscle, — neither too fat, 
nor too thin. The women are sUghtly smaller, 
with elegant bodies, strong hips, good-sized breasts, 
almost small feet and hands, dark eyes and long, 
thick black hair. Fellahin and Fellahat usually 
wear a plain long shirt with wide sleeves which 
reaches, when not held up by the girdle, to the feet. 
The man's Thob is usually white, the woman's 
blue, but they soon undergo a change. Water 
being always scarce about the village, white 
becomes grey, whilst the gaudy blue of the Thiab 
is toned down by the sun and by wear and tear 
among thorns and briars. The women's pic- 
turesque long veil, which serves so many purposes, 
such as the carrying home of provisions, Hkewise 
quickly loses its pristine freshness and takes on the 
dominant colour of this grey land. When out 
walking or at his work, the Fellah pulls up his 
Thob so that it barely reaches his knees. But 
the higher he approaches in rank to those two 
important officials the Sheikh of the village and 
the Khateeb, or Priest, the lower he wears his 
shirt. In the case of the women, decency obliges 
them, whenever men approach or are likely to be 
near, as at home, to lower their Thiab to the feet. 
The Fellahat have a silken or woollen girdle, and 
this, with their veil, completes their full dress. 



12 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Shoes and mantles, jackets and fur-coats are 
luxuries, worn only on rare occasions. 

The Fallah, with his leather girdle, hairy breast 
and arms, is the exact portrait of Elijah the Tish- 
bite, who was " a hairy man and girt with a girdle 
of leather about his loins." ^ This girdle is the 
most important item of his dress. Though his 
bodily wants may be few, he requires a large 
number of articles ever to hand, hence the girdle 
serves the purpose of an indispensable store-room. 
Upon it are suspended chains, hooks, pouches and 
horns, to hold knives, daggers, clubs, powder and 
shot, flint and steel, tinder, packneedles and 
thread, pipes, tobacco and cigarette papers, razors 
and combs, handkerchiefs and documents. A man 
without his girdle was always considered in the 
East to be in a position of inferiority : very 
much as an Occidental would be in his night-gown. 
The command ** gird up thy loins " ^ meant — 
be ready for an emergency, and the Israelites were 
ordered ** to eat with their loins girded, shoes on 
feet and staff in hand." ^ Without his girdle, a 
man was unprepared either for war or for journey- 
ing. Of late the broad girdle of the Fellahin 
has been diminished, but it is stiU to be seen in 
many out-of-the-way places.* 

» I. Kings i. 8. « n. Kings iv. 29. ' Exodus xii. 11. ♦ 

* The history of the girdle in the East contains some very 

curious facts. One of them is worth mentioning. To distinguish 

the Mohammedans from Christians and Jews, the cruel and 

despotic Caliph Motawakkil of the 'Abbasids proclaimed a law 







5: 



5S 

C/3 



CHRETIENS DE LA SAINCTURE 13 

Surrounding the Fellah's head and wound round 
his red Tarbush is a large grey and yellow turban. 
The women have a long, flowing picturesque head- 
dress called a Khirkah, which falls over the shoulders 
and to the waist, like a shawl, and is often trimmed 
with plain or coloured tassels. Shoes are worn 
by the Fellahat only when on a journey, never in 
the village, and even when abroad they are care- 
fully kept in the bosom-pouch to prevent them 
being soiled and disfigured. This pouch is also 
used as a receptacle for food when they are out 
at their work, and for other necessary things. 
Whilst visiting or on their way to towns, the women 
keep their Thiab decently tied round the body 
They carry their packages either on their heads 
or wrapped in the long sleeves of their gowns, the 



in 235 A.H. (349 a.d.) that non-believers should wear a broad 
leather girdle, Zennar, and never be allowed to loosen it. They 
were further to be distinguished from the faithful by their black 
turbans and shoes. This Girdle Law led, in later years, to a 
strange error. The old French appellation for the Christians of 
the Holy Land — " Les Chretiens de la Saincture " — was trans- 
lated by modern writers " Christians of the Girdle," saincture 
being confounded with ceinture. When Baron d'Anglure visited 
Palestine in 1395 (see Sainct voyage de Jerusalem, p. 99) he 
wrote in reference to the Holy Sepulchre : " Au dehors d'icelle 
saincte eglise, devant le portail, autour de la dicte place a quatre 
chappelles, la premiere est de Nostre-Dame, 1 'autre de Saint 
Jehan d'Euvangeliste, la tierce de Marie Magdelaine et la quatre 
de St Michel et sont gouvernees icelles chappelles par Grecz 
(Greeks) et par Hermins (Armenians) et par Chritiens de la 
Saincture (Latins) et si y a Chretiens de la terre preste Jehan 
(Abyssinia)." During the " great blank " — that is, between the 
fourteenth and seventeenth centuries — Palestine was almost for- 
gotten and the French language having changed, Saincture 
became Terre Sainte. 

3— (ai3x) 



14 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

points being knotted or held in the hand and the 
packet below the arm and the elbow. 

The Schmaar is an item of the Fellah's dress 
which calls for explanation. It is a cord, sometimes 
ornamented with tassels but more often quite 
simple, and, worn cross-ways behind the shoul- 
ders, is used for keeping the men's sleeves tucked 
out of their way, for these, though wide, cannot 
be knotted together and thrown behind their 
backs. 1 

A brown and greyish striped sleeveless mantle, 
the " Abba," completes the full dress of the men 
when in society. It is impermeable to rain, — 
" his only covering wherein he shall sleep," as we 
read in Exodus, ^ where, in Hebrew, it is called 
Shalmat, evidently the black Bedawin Shalat. 
This cloak is the Fellah's most indispensable 
article of dress at night, for when away from home 
he knows not where he may be able to find a lodg- 
ing and may very likely be obliged to sleep upon 

1 The Schmaar, which was always part of the Fellahln's cos- 
tume, is mentioned as early as the days of the sons of Jacob. 
When Judah met a Kaddishah, or consecrated woman, and had 
no ready money with which to pay for her services, she asked, 
as an arboun, or pledge, for his fateel (the woven schmaar), called 
in the Authorised Version " bracelets " but correctly rendered 
" cord " in the Revised Version ; his staff and his signet (see 
Genesis xxxviii. 18) — three objects of essential value to- the 
owner. The Schmaar was a keepsake woven by an admirer ; 
the signet was necessary for the seahng of documents, as the 
owner was too ilhterate to sign his name ; and the staff, an old 
friend and supporter, was perhaps used as a talisman against 
serpents, — a Mehjane, the hooked almond stick. 

« xxii. 27. 



FELLAHIN HOSPITALITY 15 

the ground, like Jacob, " with a stone for pillow." ^ 
The women have short red mantles, called Bisht, 
but generally known as " Abba " ; they barely 
reach to the knees and are rarely used except by 
the Fellahat around Jerusalem, Siloam, the Mount )(^ 
of Olives and Bethany, who daily come to market 
to sell their agricultural produce. Out of these 
places not one woman in ten possesses them. 

Though naturally pohte and proverbially hos- 
pitable, the FeUahin do not extend these good 
qualities beyond people of their own creed or tribe. 
As a rule, non-Moslems and non-Arabs are held 
at arm's length. Christian FeUahin, possessing 
the same customs and laws of hospitality, enjoy 
the same in a Moslem village but foreigners — so 
often arrogant — have nothing to look for among 
the humble and simple country-folk. The women, 
exactly resembhng Rachel and Rebecca, will 
offer a drink to wayfarers of the Arabic tongue 
but will keep at a distance from and look with dis- 
trust on the (to them) indecent clothing and hats of 
Occidentals, who pass by in disdainful attitudes, 
speaking a foreign language and displaying none 
of the beloved home-notes and manners. These 
strangers — people who claim that the land has 
changed, that the sweet singer of Israel no longer 
fills the air with his music, forget that nothing has 
altered, that they alone are foreigners who under- 
stand no word of Oriental sentimentalism, and who 

* Genesis xxviii. 11. 



16 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

- come to teach the people their own history in 
r distorted lessons. Provided you are one in belief 
or in language with a Fellah, I know of no one who 
could be more hospitable. Though his house be 
in ruins, he receives his guests with as much vanity 
and satisfaction as a Croesus living in a marble 
palace would, and treats them as generously as 
if he were the richest man in the place, even though 
he may have to go to his neighbour to borrow rice, 
a lamb or a goat, butter and coffee. 

IV 

But let us now turn to the second of our grey 
trio : the ruins of Palestine. ^ The entire country 

1 With these ruins of " fenced cities," lying in " ruinous heaps " 
(II. Kings xix. 25) may be grouped the heaps of stones which the 
traveller is ever encountering. These mark places where men 
have been killed, and are placed there with the idea of preventing 
the ghosts of the departed from appearing and frightening the 
passers-by : a relic of the stoning of the condemned referred to 
in the words " the people of the land shall stone him with stones " 
(Leviticus xx. 2). Do we not read, too, that when the King of 
Ai was dead he was taken down before evening, his carcass was 
thrown at the entrance to the city, and a great heap of stones was 
raised over it, " that remaineth unto this day " ? (Joshua viii. 
29). At the last execution I saw in Palestine, near the Jaffa Gate, 
in 1869, many of the spectators threw stones at the beheaded body, 
which was later carried away to be buried by night. The pil- 
grims of Arafat, near Mecca, stone Satan for his disobedience 
and he is often termed Esh-Shit&n er-Rajeem. But heaps of 
stones accumulated under these and similar circumstances must 
.^ not be confused with the witness stones which are heaped up in 

honour of a saint. These are set up stone by stone by pious 
believers when , at a distance , they first perceive a shrine. ' ' Stone , 
I witness with you to-day, and witness with me on judgment 
day," says the traveller, as he places his stone in position. There 
are heaps of these witness stones in Bethel and between Laban and 
Jacob. 



RUINED CITIES 17 

is scattered with them ; — there are certainly five 
or six desolated sites for every one that is inhabited. 
A curse is thought to adhere to old ruins, and the 
BibHcal " cursed is the man before Jehovah that 
riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho," ^ if not 
regarded as law, has been carried into effect. All 
through the pages of the Bible do we find references 
to this characteristic feature of the Holy Land. 
Prophets threatened that ruins should be mul- 
tiphed, 2 or promised, if the people turned away 
from their abominations, that they should be 
raised up. ^ The Cities of the Plain, Sodom and 
Gomorrah, Adama and Zeboim, disappeared in 
the weU-known catastrophe. Zoar alone remained, 
but later that town also was swept away. Masada, 
the last fortress of the Jewish nations, is now in 
ruins. Likewise, on Engiddy, the older Hazazon- 
Tamar, being abandoned, the inhabitants with- 
drew to build Beth-Tamar, Beth-Sahur and Ebn- 
Obeid, which in their turn were deserted by the 
people, who are stiU wandering about, wearing, 
though they are half Bedawin, the Fallahin turban 
and cloak.* Tekoa has also become a great heap 
of ruins and the desert's sole inhabitants are now 
many species of lizards,^ including the Waran 
(Psammosaurus scincus), the Thab or Mastiguer 

1 Joshua vi. 26. ^ Ezekiel xxi. 15. ' Amos ix. 11. 

* There are three tribes of these agricultural nomads : the 
Ta'amry, the Sawahry and the Obeidiy^. 

' Canon Tristram, the author of The Fauna and Flora of 
Palestine, captured at least ten species. 



18 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

(JJromastix spinipes), and our old friend the Harden 
whose life history we have yet to consider. 

V 

The Stellio cordylina lizard lives, as I have said, 
about the home of the Fellahin and seeks security 
in any convenient hole which may present itself 
in the rough-built, unplastered walls. But he 
avoids the front part of the house and never 
on any account ventures inside, like his cousin the 
Gecko (Ptyodactylus hasselquisti). Abu Braise — 
the familiar appellation under which the latter is 
known to the Fellahin — rids the dweUing of gnats, 
flies and mosquitoes. He is believed, as this name 
indicates, to engender leprosy, — a belief the origin 
of which is almost as old as his very existence, 
since it arises from his colour and protuberances, 
which, in fact, resemble the effects of that disease. ^ 
Nor is this the only injustice which is done Master 
Gecko ; the beautiful, useful little fellow is also 
accused of having indicated to Mohammed's 
persecutors the prophet's hiding-place at the 
Hejra (Anglice Hegira), by calling out : " Shick ! 

^ The ancient lawgivers, who were probably responsible for 
this belief, fell into error in almost all their observations concern- 
ing the minor animals and the causes of disease. For instance, 
they confused the appearance of saltpetre on the damp walls 
of houses with leprosy. See Leviticus xiv. 37 : " And he 
shall look on the plague, and, behold, if the plague be in the walls 
of the house with hollow strakes, greenish or reddish, which in 
sight are lower than the wall ; then ..." This superstition 
and the belief concerning the Gecko are as firm as ever in the 
country districts of Palestine. 



SUPERSTITIOUS TALES 19 

wan-Nabi fish shick ! " (" Geek ! the Prophet 
is in the cleft ! ") Similarly, two acts of 
treachery are laid at the door of the Hardon. 
He is said to have nodded his head above 
the same cleft, to indicate that it was true 
the prophet was there, because the entrance to 
the opening in the rock was obstructed by a 
spider's web and two turtle-dove's eggs. But the 
persecutors, not believing either traitor, passed on. 
The Hardon is Hkewise accused of having carried 
wood to Jebel 'Arafat when the accursed mule 
was already loaded to go and burn the Angel 
Gabriel.^ In consequence of these superstitious 
tales, whoever kills a Hardon or a Gecko with his 
right hand is said to receive a reward in heaven, 
and the more Geckos or Haradin he puts to death 
the more numerous will be his recompenses. For- 
tunately the Fellahin are too busy or too fatalistic 
to attempt to destroy a single one, and thus 
large quantities of flies, beetles, wasps, field-bugs 
and ants, which would become a veritable plague 

1 Many other legends are related concerning the Harddn, 
which is regarded by the natives of Palestine as a thinking being. 
A Fellah once told me the following story. One day, a serpent, 
accustomed, like her congeners, to feed on Haradin, rushed upon a 
Hardon. But the sly fellow, quicker than she was, promptly 
seized upon a piece of wood, which he presented crosswise in his 
mouth to the snake. Whichever way she turned, the Hardon 
turned his head with the stick, thus preventing her from getting 
hold. At last the serpent, completely bafiied, abandoned him. — 
Serpents are exceedingly fond of Haradin. I have myself cut 
open a Zamenis viridiflavus and rescued one of them — a miniature 
Jonah — after it had spent perhaps three hours in the reptile's 
stomach. 



20 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

to agriculture if left unchecked, are removed from 
the land. Nevertheless, the Hardon, as though 
conscious of the alleged crime of one of his ances- 
tors, runs fast on the approach of man and hides 
either in the cracked bole of an olive-tree or in his 
impregnable hole in a wall. His name means 
Withdrawer or Sly Fellow, and having got a bad 
reputation he feels that he has no time to wait 
and hear who is right or wrong ; — concluding that 
the judge will surely be on man's side, he promptly 
sUps out of the way. 

The male Hardon is slightly darker than the 
female and generally stronger ; his thick tail is 
more spiny and his triangular head much larger. 
He wags his head periodically, but only when he 
feels in safety and is basking in the bright sunshine 
on the top of a stone. Sometimes he draws him- 
self up like a sentinel and, seeming to say, "Here I 
am ! Come along. Look out ! Man is coming ! ** 
appears to be attracting the female's attention. 
For Haradin always Hve in pairs. And when the 
male thus walks high on his four legs the female 
can pass below him. 

In June the female digs a hole about six inches 
deep in the dry, loose earth and lays from eight to 
ten yellowish eggs, about two centimetres long 
and with a semi-rigid membrane. Each is 
deposited separately and covered with warm 
earth, after which they are left to hatch in the sun. 
The young Haradin (about four centimetres in 




GROWTH OF THE HARDON 21 

length when born) crawl out some two months 
later and immediately begin to fight life's battles 
for themselves by picking up ants and minor 
insects.^ In view of their three to four months 
hibernation in the holes of ruins or olive trees, 
they store up, under their thick skin, a layer of 
fat. At one year of age they are about ten cen- 
timetres long, by the second year they may be 
nearly twenty, and at the end of the third year 
they attain their full growth, or nearly so, — a 
length of thirty centimetres. By this time the 
Hardon has chosen a home of his own and, taken 
up with matrimonial duties, rarely, as far as I 
have been able to observe, abandons it. 

Near Solomon's Pools is a mountain where 
Haradin thrive so well that it has come to be known 
as Abu-1-Haradin. That these reptiles have been 
a feature of Palestine since times immemorial 
is undoubted. But how is it, then, that they 
escaped the notice of the Fellahin prophets, 
especially Micah, who lived in a Hardon district ? 
The fault is probably not with Micah but with 
his translators. The prophet, referring to the 
fleeing of the enemy, says, according to the 

* They are also particularly fond of bees, and for that reason 
always abound near apiaries. They can sometimes be surprised 
in the act of standing in front of the fly-holes of the hives catching 
drones and workers. In the latter case they allow the bees to 
sting them about the jaws, so that the poison sack and its con- 
tents may remain in the wound and the bees be swallowed without 
venom. I have seen Haradin with a dozen or more stings on 
their powerful jaws. Though comparatively small, their teeth 
are strong enough to draw blood should they bite your finger. 



22 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Authorised Version : " They shall lick the dust hke a 
serpent, they shall move out of their holes like 
worms of the earth," * But the Hebrew text is 
clearer : " Yelhaku 'afr kanahsch, kazahli arz 
yergazu mi massgarathihim," which, translated 
into Arabic, would read : " Yelhasu *afr kal- 
hanash, kasahali (or Haradin) el ard, yergathu 
min khuzuk il mussagerath," — that is: "As a 
serpent they lick the dust, and as a lizard of the 
earth, they dance or run from their hiding-places." 
Like many reptiles, the Hardon, for protective 
purposes, has the power of slightly changing his 
colour. He is very dark when about the stems of 
oHve-trees, grey when lying on rocks or ruins, 
and slightly greyer when near the ashes of the 
Tabon, or oven, where, on account of the warmth 
in winter and the insects in summer, he delights 
to recline, and where you may hear the pitiless 
Fellahin children singing to him : — 

" Salli sallatak ya Hardon 
Immak mattat fi — tabdn." ^ 

* Micah vii, 17. The Revised Version says "like crawling 
things of the earth." 

* " Pray your prayer, oh Hardon, 
Your mother died in the oven." 



II 

IN THE BEDAWIN COUNTRY 

I 

The high plateau of Moab, in Eastern Palestine, 
the maritime plains of Sharon, in the west, the 
central plains of Esdraelon and Jezreel, or the 
extremely fertile plains of Shittim, in the deep 
depression formed by the Jordan valley, may 
be called inexhaustible graineries. Year after 
year, without any artificial manuring, crops are 
raised, and as soon as the harvest is over thousands 
of animals are turned into the fenceless fields to 
pasture on the stubble — often over a foot high — 
which the reapers have left. These droves of 
camels, herds of fat-tailed sheep, or black goats 
with ears so long that they often reach the ground, 
all delight in the food they find, and, whilst 
roaming about day after day for many months 
yearly, manure the land naturally. 

With the exception of northern Sharon, Esdrael- 
on and Jezreel, the southern, central and eastern 
lands belong to the wandering Arabs, who prefer to 
go on Ghazu^ rather than cultivate their lands, 
which, owned by the whole tribe, are rented to 
the more diligent Fellahin, on condition of yielding 
a portion of the produce to the owners. Indeed, 

* Marauding excursions. 

23 



24 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

the haughty Bedawi considers it a dishonour to 
leave his camels or horses and take to the plough 
or the sickle, and with pride he sings : — 

" II khail lal bela 
II ebal lal khala 
Wal baggar 
Lal fuggur." * 

He is always on the look-out for some " Fellah- 
el-Hitr/' ^ willing to take his share of land, and, 
since he is often in need of ready money, to advance 
him on interest a few hundred Majidis. ^ Then he 
is free to jump on to his fine mare and follow his 
chief on one of the numerous expeditions, more or 
less legitimate, which form so great a part of his 
free, picturesque life. 

UnUke these fertile spots of Palestine, the dry 
mountains of Judaea, where my father owned land, 
give but a poor return of wheat and barley. Con- 
sequently the Fellahin of the villages often turn 
their thoughts and footsteps to the haunts of the 
Bedawin. In doing so they are but imitating 
their ancestors. The children of Jacob departed 
to Egypt because the mountains gave no more 
grain, Abraham and Isaac travelled to the south- 
ern plains of Beersheba and Sharon, — Jacob and 
his children to Dothan, towards Esdraelon, — 

1 The horses are for trial (in war) 
The camels are for excursions (or the desert) 
But the cows 
Are for the poor. 

* Unfortunate Fellah, obliged to work. 

• A Majidi is equivalent to about 3s. 6d. 



ON JORDAN'S BANKS 25 

and the father and mother-in-law of Ruth to Moab 
because there was famine in Bethlehem. 

One day, when I was still in my youth, one 
of my father's Fellah-partners, Saleh el-Kaak, 
announced his intention of trying his luck on the 
plains of Jordan. He had come into relations with 
a high-born Bedawi of the tribe of the Aduan, 
Imhammad el-Talak, who, as a fully-equipped 
horseman of Sheikh Ali el-Thiab, was obliged to 
follow his liege lord wherever he was led, and the 
two men having come to the usual financial arrange- 
ment the departure was fixed for the month of 
November. My father, anxious to know more 
about the country and its resources, but unable to 
leave home, delegated me to accompany Saleh el- 
Kaak and assist at the ploughing and the sowing. 
When this work, which took only a few weeks, 
was over, I turned my face homewards, but 
with the intention of returning for the harvest 
when the Jordan permitted. There were no 
bridges over the famous river in those days, and 
even had there been any they would have been 
of no avail in early spring, as the river bed hes 
very low in a broader bed, covered with thickets, 
and when the snows melt on Mount Hermon, in 
Lebanon, the stream is sometimes miles in breadth. 
It would have been folly to attempt a crossing 
" when Jordan overflowed all its banks." ^ 

It was not until May, when the river was 

* Joshua iii, 15. 



26 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

reported to be in a normal condition again, that 
Saleh el-Kaak, his two sons, his numerous relatives, 
and myself set off on our journey. We travelled 
in caravans, it being unsafe in those days to travel 
in small groups, owing to the ever-lurking Bedawin, 
only too ready to pounce upon and rob the weak 
and unsuspecting wayfarer. Our own caravan 
was composed of men and women, with a number 
of animals, from Siloam. We started before 
midnight and by morning approached the 
treacherous river with apprehension. 

All chattering ceased when the crossing of the 
Jordan began ; out on the grey waters everyone 
looked serious. Whirlpool and rapids were 
encountered at every yard, now rushing swiftly 
down in the centre of the stream, now dashing 
against the banks and hollowing them out. There 
was not a living being who did not reflect on the 
possibility of nevter reaching the opposite shore 
alive, for all knew that every crossing of the 
Jordan was fatal to one or other of the animals 
and sometimes to men and women. At times 
the dashing waters would so excavate the land 
that one of the marly hills, ^ with a mighty splash, 

1 According to a manuscript of Nowairi, the Arab historian, 
translated by Professor Clermont-Ganneau for the Quarterly 
Statement of the Palestine Exploration Fund of July, 1895, the 
chronicler relates a similar occurence. In the month of Jumad 
the First, in the year 664 (a.d. 1266), the Sultan Beybars " issued 
orders for the building of a bridge over the Jordan. . . . The 
bridge is in the neighbourhood of Damieh. . . . The Sultan 
charged the Emir Jamel ed Din Ibn Nahar with the erection of the 



CROSSING THE RIVER 27 

would topple into the stream, churning it into 
foam and increasing the anguish in everyone's 
breast, though all tried to conceal their emotion. 
Nothing was more revelatory than the manner in 
which various people faced the danger. The 
Moslems stepped into the water with a " Bism 
illah " ; the Christians signed themselves with the 
cross. All drew near quietly, muttering prayers ; 
jokes were forgotten, merry faces became grave; 
and not until the whole caravan was over could 
joyous laughter be heard once more. 

There are very few swimmers among the 
Siloam Fellahin, so that most of them had to 
depend on their Bedawin partner to take them 
across. Our own swimming ford was fifty to 

bridge, and commanded it to be made with five arches. . . . 
When the work was completed and the workmen dispersed, 
part of the piers gave way. The Sultan was greatly annoyed, 
reprimanded the builders and sent them back to repair the 
damage. They found the task very difficult, owing to the 
rising of the waters and the strength of the current. But on 
the night preceding the dawn of the 17th of the month of Rabce, 
the First of the year 666 (December 8th, 1267), the waters of 
the river ceased to flow, so that none remained in its bed. The 
people hurried . . . and seized the opportunity offered by the 
occurrence to remedy the defects in the piers, and to strengthen 
them. . . . They then despatched mounted men to ascertain 
the nature of the event. The riders urged forward their horses 
and found that a lofty mound (Kabar), which overlooked the 
river on the west, had fallen into it and dammed it up. . . . The 
messengers returned with this explanation, and the water was 
arrested from midnight until the fourth hour of the day. Then 
the pressure of the water became too great and the dam burst. 
The water rushed down in a mass equal in depth to the length 
of a lance, but made no impression upon the building, owing to 
the strength given it. The stream, however, carried away the 
apparatus used in the work of repairs. This is one of the most 
wonderful of events, and the bridge is in existence to this day." 



28 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

sixty yards broad, and as the trees and rushes had 
often been cut down level with the water, these, 
to begin with, cut the soles of our feet like knives. 
It was like a visit to the dentist's : no one was in 
a hurry to go first, — everyone wished to see the 
effect of the crossing on him or her before venturing 
into the yellow water. Being a good swimmer, I 
crossed with numbers of Bedawiyat and Fellahat, 
with inflated Kirbies^ on their backs. All 
entered the water fully dressed, the most passive 
and composed set of people I have ever seen. 
Fully confident in the strength of my young arms, 
these women let themselves be dragged along with- 
out a murmur, whereas all the men, without 
exception, showed signs of anguish or terror, as 
though on their way to execution. A woman of 
Palestine, again, will allow herself to be bound 
fast at the arm, and will keep at four or five yards 
distance from a swimmer, but a man, when the 
waters of the river seem to be dragging with too 
great a force, will always approach and try to 
save himself by taking hold. 

^ The Kirby is a water-bottle made of the skins of sheep or 
goats, tanned and sewn together. The neck is open to receive 
water. When full and securely tied up, it is carried on a woman's 
back ; or, if there are two Kirbies, on a donkey, one on either 
side of the animal. Inflated and bound to the back, these recep- 
tacles make excellent buoys for a non-swimmer. He or she 
having been provided with a couple of inflated Kirbies and bound, 
the swimmer takes the other end of the cord in his mouth, thus 
leaving his arms perfectly free. Animals are bound at the lower 
jaw and follow easily, as they cannot resist the slightest pressure 
on the jaws or tongue. 



"DOG OF A CHRISTIAN" 29 

As I was the only swimmer in my group, the 
difficult task of carrying over the saddles and 
luggage, when the donkeys, camels and my mare 
had crossed, was left to me. I had all the Kirbies 
inflated and tied together, in sets of seven or 
eight, and on this original raft managed to get all 
our belongings across. 

Each group was in the same predicament : 
there was but one swimmer, and he had to cross a 
dozen or more times — a good four hours' work. 
These duties were renewed every second day, for 
the grain — poured into the Kirbies and on a raft 
of inflated water-bottles — had to be got over. 

I wonder how much a human being can sup- 
port. Work under the conditions of those days 
was simply the most refined cruelty imaginable. 
Our Bedawin companions crossed the Jordan 
stark naked and insisted on our doing the same. 

** Dog of a Christian," cried an old scarred 
Bedawi warrior to me when I demurred, — he had 
only one eye left, several of his fingers were 
missing, and his body was marked with spear 
wounds ; ** are you better than ourselves that you 
should hide your nakedness ? Uncircumcised dog, 
I will crush you Hke a fly " — raising his Naboot — 
*' if you do not throw off every rag from your 
accursed body ! " 

And so, under a torrid sun — 45 to 55 degrees 
Centigrade, with bare slashed feet on the burning 
sand, with enormous gnats and mosquitoes biting 

4— (2131) 



30 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

our bodies, we worked. To drive away the 
insects, which stung our bodies until they bled, 
every swimmer was provided with a leaved willow 
wand cut on the banks, and with this he contin- 
ually whipped himself. Near the starting-point, ^ 
where the grain was poured into the Kirbies by 
the non-swimmers, huge fires were kept up, and 
in the heat and smoke of these we sat in an almost 
vain endeavour to keep the insects at bay until, 
once more, we popped into the stream. 

To show good-humour and also to rail at the 
cowardly non-swimmers when they were on the 
shore, we sang, either alone or in unison. But 
never a word was uttered when man or beast 
was drifting down the Jordan. Once, as a man 
was washed away, I cried out in terror, but I was 
quickly called to order by a Bedawi, who remarked, 
philosophically : — 

" We are not blind and your shouting will only 
frighten the others. Besides, the victim himself 
will lose hope. You will neither draw him out 
nor give him encouragement. If luck is in his 
favour he will be washed ashore." 



1 On account of the river's rapidity we 
were carried hundreds of yards down stream. 
So we had always three points for starting and 
A landing. A was the spot at which we started 
to reach B. Then we would walk up the 
bank to C and drop in the river to be carried 
to A again. 




ABSOLUTE EQUALITY 31 

And sure enough, he was. . . . Ever afterwards, 
whenever I saw a donkey or a cow washed away, 
I thought of that Bedawi wise-man and regarded 
the loss without flinching. What matter ! — it 
was only one more animal that had gone to feed 
the Cheetahs^ in the jungle below. 

II 

Very little indeed was done for the comfort of 
the toilers in that fearful climate, — nothing for 
the security of either man or beast. There was 
absolute equality, in an atmosphere of indifference. 
We lived an ideal social life. As regards food, 
whoever had any gave it up, in true Bedawi 
fashion, for the benefit of the whole community. 
Everything was eaten then and there on the banks 
of the Jordan, so as not to have the trouble of 
carrying it the ten miles to our camp on the green 
banks of the Kaffrain. 

I was often asked in after years why we did 
not build huts on the banks of the Jordan to 
protect ourselves against the sun — why we 
did not throw wire ropes across the river — 
why we had no planks for landing — and so on. 
The questioners had never come into contact with 
a Bedawi at home, — a Bedawi who will risk his 

^ Possibly the " roaring lion " referred to by the Prophet 
Jeremiah^as " coming up before the sweUing of Jordan " was the 
Cheetah, w I am inclined to the belief that the lion never really 
existed in Palestine proper. The Bible contains various references 
to lions, but this is possibly due to negligence on the part of the 
transcribers. 



32 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

life on a marauding expedition and on returning 
will present you with his share of the spoil in return 
for a compliment, — a Bedawi who will deliberately 
destroy any means of getting over Jordan easier, 
who will fell a tree fifteen feet high in order to 
obtain a stick which pleases him in the branches, 
who will hunt for days and nights in the jungle, 
slaughtering wild boar until he has found just the 
right pair of tusks for ornamenting his mare's 
neck, or who will climb a precipice in search of an 
eagle to provide him with the two bones for 
making a Neiye, — a Bedawi who is as free as the 
air, careless as a four-year-old baby, cruel as a 
tiger, and yet so hospitable that it is impossible 
to find his equal anywhere in the world. No ; 
a Bedawi would join you in carrying off wives, if 
you proposed it to him, but he would set fire to 
your huts, cut your wire ropes and throw your 
planks into the river — for the fun of it. He cares 
not a fig for progress. The wilder, the more 
inaccessible his region, the more secure is his life 
and the better he is pleased. His whole desire 
is to keep the civilised world and the Government 
official in search of taxes away. He is a " wild 
man," whose hand is ** against every man," and, 
as was promised to Hagar concerning that Bedawi 
Ishmael, every man's hand shall be against him. ^ 
No one in our caravan had, I assure you, the 
courage to linger a single moment longer than was 

* Genesis xvi. 12. 




J 'koto 



J. H. haiiaajian, naija 

A Bedawi of the Kishon 



MY FAITHFUL MARE 33 

necessary on the banks of the inhospitable Jordan. 
As soon as our work was over our only wish was to 
flee from the heat and the mosquitoes^ and es- 
pecially from any hostile Bedawin, who, exactly 
like the Apaches in the suburbs of Paris, or the 
sharks which, hour after hour, follow the ocean 
steamers to snatch at the morsels falling overboard, 
might turn up in our rear to seize upon any 
loiterer, as indeed happened to myself, as I will 
later relate. 

When we came to the Kaffrain, the Aduan had 
decamped for the cooler slopes of Moab. Imme- 
diately those of my own party entered upon an 
open-air life, — not only eating but sleeping in the 
open. But we built a few huts for the protection 
of the women and to hold the very elementary 
cooking utensils which Ghalie, a young Fellaha, 
had brought with her for our use. And thus we 
watched, rather than slept, in case anyone less 
favoured with worldly goods should attempt, 
under cover of the night, to run off with our ani- 
mals or other property. During the day my 
mare was tethered, but in the darkness, as no one 
would take the responsibility of looking after her, 
she was attached to my wrist. Thus, every night, 
for two long months I lay on the ground, with the 
mare walking round and round me, and some- 
times gently pulling, lest I should forget myself 
in too deep a sleep. Never once did the faithful, 
cautious animal so much as graze my outstretched 



34 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

limbs, except when, imagining that I had no more 
breath, or that some wolf or jackal was approaching 
too near, she would draw near and snort in my face. 

We were divided into two separate camps, 
situated some distance the one from the other, 
one with and the other without tents ; and 
Imhammad el-Talak, Saleh el-Kaak's Bedawi 
partner, was with us. His wife, N^amy, and an 
eleven-year-old son named Swelem were in the 
other encampment, but he was accompanied by 
his old mother 'Hamdiyeh, who used to sit almost 
all day near her hut, smoking a long pipe and sur- 
veying the harvest. Enveloped in her dark blue 
clothes and dark head veil, she sat so motionless 
that, at a distance, no one would have taken her 
to be a living being. Only on drawing near and 
seeing the rings of smoke pass from her tattooed 
lips, with an occasional sideway glance of her 
wild eyes, could you be sure that she was not a 
statue. 

Comparing our life with that of the harvesters 
in the tent camp, we lived in " the land of the 
lotus-eaters." We had both wheat and barley ; 
the well-nigh impenetrable Dom-forest was full 
of Dom-apples ; whilst innumerable Senegal and 
collared turtle-doves, which filled the air with 
their ceaseless cooing, provided us with meat. 
Never before or since did I eat so many pigeons 
as during those two months on the outskirts of 
the forest. But to penetrate the thorny thickets 



DOM-THICKETS AND SERPENTS 35 

in pursuit of birds or in search of fruit was no 
easy or agreeable task. We had not only to 
contend with the sharp hooked thorns of the Dom 
or Lotus tree (Zizyphus spina Christi), which stuck 
to our clothes " closer than a brother/' tore them 
into holes all over, and scratched our hands and 
faces, — we had to keep a sharp look-out for snakes, 
which hid in the high grass and fed upon the birds. 
I did not then know the difference between the 
deadly Daboia, the huge and lively Esculap, and 
the black and shining Hanash ; and when I shot 
a gigantic brown Esculap, measuring more than 
five feet, and which had blown out its neck at me 
from the top of a Dom-tree, I thought I had had a 
narrow escape. The small Dom-apples — hardly 
bigger than a hazel nut — would have been dis- 
dained elsewhere, but on the banks of the Kaffrain 
every Bedawi gathers them, or leaves his wife 
and daughters to collect a store for winter use. 
Dom-gathering — an occupation not to be recom- 
mended to those with delicate hands — and Swelem, 
the eleven-year-old son of Imhammad el-Talak, 
are ever connected in my memory. In the inven- 
tion and carrying out of impish tricks that young- 
ster was a past master. He used to upset the trays 
containing the Dom-meal, scatter sand on the dry- 
ing tobacco leaves, pour water into his grand- 
mother's tobacco-pipe, set loose the cows and the 
donkeys of the Fellahin when they were most 
wanted for threshing, and defile the waters of the 



36 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Kaffrain at the very moment when the women, a 
little lower down the stream, were filUng their 
Kirbies. One day, when he had been assisting 
in the gathering of the Dom-apples and had been 
well scratched on his arms and legs, he revenged 
himself by setting fire to the bush. The Sharkiye, 
an east wind, happened to be blowing slightly, so 
that in a very short time the whole of the thickets 
in our neighbourhood was a sea of fire, killing 
young birds by thousands in their nests and scorch- 
ing hundreds of serpents to a cinder. For once 
Swelem escaped a thrashing. Everybody agreed 
that his act was a stroke of genius. For the result 
was that a way was opened in the impenetrable 
forest, the defences of the Zizyphus spina Christi 
were broken down, the dangerous reptiles were 
annihilated, and hundreds of thousands of 
Dom-apples hung — roasted — on the leafless trees. 

The news of Swelem' s fire spread almost as 
rapidly as the flames he had set ablazing. Beda- 
wiyat came down from the mountains to fill their 
gazelle-skin bags with roasted Dom-apples and, 
returning home, heavily ladened, sent others or 
came again themselves. The fire was a god-send 
to all except myself, who had now to go much 
further afield in search of game. 

Being the only European, it was thought, in 
those days (1874), to be safer for me to wear 
Bedawi-clothing : a long shirt with broad, pointed 
sleeves hanging to the ground, a Saye, and, on my 



THE WHITE "FRANJI" 37 

head, a silken Kafiy6. With the exception of the 
girdle, which held the shirt and the Saye together, 
the ^Akal, or head-cord, wound around the 
Kafiye, and a fringe of hair hanging over my 
forehead, in accordance with the fashion among 
Bedawin youngsters, I was a figure in spotless 
white. In order to be able to walk more easily 
whilst on the march, I used to gather up the long 
folds of my dress and stick them in my girdle, 
leaving my legs bare. No wonder that one day 
four Bedawiyat, gathering Dom-apples in the 
forest, fled with loud screams at my approach. 
They had never seen a white boy before and must 
have imagined that a Jan, or guardian of the 
forest, had appeared to drive them home. Fearing 
that their silly behaviour might be wrongly inter- 
preted in the camp, I shouted to them at the top 
of my voice to stop. They obeyed, a little 
through feminine curiosity, a little through fear ; 
then, timidly, in response to my parleying, they 
advanced, until at last they had drawn near 
enough to pinch my arms and legs and make cer- 
tain that I was an authentic son of Adam. To 
account for my white skin and white Kafiye, 
which is often dark with the Bedawin, I explained 
to them that I was a Frank. Never before had 
they set eyes on a ** Franji " and once more, 
impelled by curiosity, they stretched out their 
tattooed arms to touch my body. To seal our 
friendship every one offered me Dom-apples until 



38 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

I had as many as I could carry, wrapped — 
Bedawi fashion — in the long sleeves of my ample 
gown. But I am inclined to think that, after all, 
they were not quite convinced. For they retreated 
cautiously, with many backward glances and the 
youngest, a girl of fourteen, attempting to hide 
behind the others, until they finally disappeared 
behind the half-burned bushes. 

Ill 

There was little variety in our meals in camp ; 
the only striking change was when Ghalie, having 
baked the bread in the ashes in the morning and 
at noon, treated us in the evening to the luxury of 
bread made on a Saaj, an iron plate, above the 
fire. Pigeons and bread and Dom-apples followed 
each other in regular rotation. Vegetables were 
unknown. 

The only plant the Bedawin care to grow is the 
fragrant Hassanbaki, i.e., tobacco, which they 
cultivate in small enclosures. But so impatient 
are they that they never wait for the plants to 
attain their full growth. Nor have they the 
patience to wait for the leaves to dry ; hardly 
have they begun to wither than they cut them up 
with their pocket-knives. As clay pipes can only 
be obtained in the towns, they make a Ghaliun 
of a reed stem, boring a hole in one side through 
which to draw the smoke. It would be too much 
exertion on hand and brain to fashion a pipe-stem 



DEAD SEA DISTRICT 39 

out of a reedlet. A Bedawi may be said to suck 
rather than smoke his pipe, which he enjoys, 
however, every bit as much as the wealthy towns- 
man does his silver filigreed narghile or a European 
his amber-mouthed meerschaum. 

Once we moved our camp up stream, in order 
to have the protection of a ruined site, — beloved 
of the Fellahin, — and the luxury of a waU against 
which to build Ghalie's hut. Imhammad el-Talak 
had now departed with his chief ; Saleh el-Kaak 
and his sons, Khaleel and Ehmad, were actively 
engaged in cutting the wheat and the barley ; 
Ghalie had almost all the threshing to do ; and 
nearly everybody, save myself, had his appointed 
duties. As long as the sun shone hot on the straw 
heap I enjoyed little society. I had to content 
myself with Murjane, a freed slave about my own 
age, and Sa^d el-Kaanass, a youth several years 
older, and, since he was a good shot, a fairly 
frequent companion. 

One of our excursions, when time hung heavily 
on my hands and the eternal doves and pigeons of 
Kaffrain palled on my palate, was to the Dead 
Sea, about a two hours' walk away. I noticed 
that whilst visiting that dangerous district the 
Bedawin were much more particular about their 
health than either the Fellahin or myself. They 
carried with them tiny bags filled with tar which, 
as soon as they entered the swampy regions, they 
stuffed into their nostrils. It was an excellent 



40 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

preventive, they told me, against the Wakham, ^ 
which, unfortunately, we mountaineers disdained. 
I think I may say that fully fifty per cent, of us 
died or were sickly for years after through not 
taking the necessary precautions against fever. 
It is not only the poisonous emanations of the vol- 
canic region which cause trouble, one must take 
into account the great heat in the depression in 
which the Dead Sea lies, nearly six hundred feet 
below the level of other seas, and, in addition, its 
unhealthy waters. 

But, in spite of the danger of that part of Pal- 
estine, what a fascination it has for the naturaHst 
and the sportsman ! Birds, reptiles and plants — 
some of them known only in that tropical climate — 
abound there. We brought home both red-legged 
and sand-partridges, francolins and grakles ; we 
admired the tiny sun-birds — smaller than some 
butterflies — and the golden frogs which, at our 
approach, leapt into the warm waters of CaUrrhoe 
and other sulphurous springs east of the Dead 
Sea ; we watched the slow mastiguer, with its 
homy tail, creep along the sand ; and sat at the 
foot of the Asdepia gigantea, or Caletropis procera, 
fifteen feet high, with broad thick leaves, Hke a 
good sized man's hand, and an orange-like fruit, 
containing those silky fibres of which legends have 
been told by all ancient writers from Josephus to 
Tacitus. They, and even some modem writers, 

1 Malaria. 



APPLE OF SODOM 41 

have contended that this Apple of Sodom, in 
memory of the destruction by brimstone and 
ashes of the neighbouring Sodom and Gomorrah, 
contains nothing but smoke and ashes. But I 
found that Sa'ad el-Kaanass and the scientists 
were wiser. My companion, who told me wonder- 
ful stories of the 'Oshair, showed me that the sHght 
explosion which results from the touching of the 
fruit was a characteristic of all Asclepias, — one of 
Nature's wonderful methods of disseminating the 
seeds of the plant, which are thus shot forth and 
borne away by the wind to fructify in a thousand 
different places. Far from the Asclepia gigantea 
being associated with the idea of death and destruc- 
tion, it was, to Salad's mind, the symbol of life. 
" Was not its name," he asked me, " 'Oshair, — 
the pregnant-maker, and had not a barren woman 
once sat within the shade of the tree and soon after 
had a child ? " And to prove that life was indeed 
its essential element, he showed me how a thick 
milky juice could be made to flow from the plant 
hke opium from the poppy. Sometimes we would 
shoot at the wild boars, but as they disappeared 
in the Jordan jungle we rarely attempted to follow 
them, for Sa^ad thought that the tusks were hardly 
worth the risk of being attacked by the Cheetahs 
who prey upon the boar. Sometimes a grouse 
would call out, "Naagged! Khanafer! Ghittit ! " 
tempting me to follow. But the prudent Sa'ad 
would dissuade me, saying : " It is wiser not to 



42 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

look for ' the she-camel of Khanafer which is 
lost.' Maybe the bird is merely leading us on to 
destruction. We had better return to the camp." 

On another occasion, when approaching the sea 
and whilst it was yet dark, a ball of fire, like a 
huge star, rose from the water, and, after ascending 
several hundreds of feet, vanished. Again Sa^ad 
thought we had better return home. It was a 
Will-*o-the-wisp, common over the surface of the 
Dead Sea, but to Sa'ad it was a sign of the presence 
of the Jan. 

Superstition is very deeply rooted among the 
Bedawin. Old Im-Imhammad, the soothsayer 
of our camp, was a very good example of this. 
She was a curious mixture of sagacity and igno- 
rance, of cunning and a genuine belief in her powers. 
She could extract balsamic oil from the date-hke 
fruit of the oleaster {Eloeagnus angustifolius)^ 
and used it for healing wounds, though the 
Zaqum (as the Arabs call it) with its spikes often 
over an inch long, is said to flourish in hell and fur- 
nish fruit for unbehevers. ^ There were many other 
plants whose virtues she knew and whose secrets 
she carefully kept to herself. But her forte was 
prophecy. She foretold calamities or good news 
with imperturbable peace of mind, passing the 
while a long straw through the stem of her pipe 
to enjoy the nicotine which she thus collected, 
or sucking rather than chewing tobacco when the 

* The Koran, Sura, xvii, 62. 



DEATH BELL 43 

other was lacking. Like every soothsayer, she 
was extremely sober in words, and thus was never 
compromised, — the same prophecy could be made 
to apply to good or to evil. 

IV 

At last the time came for us to raise our camp 
and return home. Row after row of black goat- 
hair Fardies, filled with wheat, stood waiting to 
be loaded on to the backs of the camels. Every- 
thing had been packed ready for the departure, 
which had been fixed for an early hour of the morn- 
ing. Amidst the wailing of the jackals and the 
darkness of the night, we had lain down to take 
our last rest in the old camp, filled with a feeUng 
of sadness at the thought that, in spite of all its 
discomforts, we were about to leave it for ever. 
Suddenly, just as the last cooings of the turtle- 
doves were lulling us to sleep, the sound of a tiny 
bell was heard in the distance. Soon the tinkling 
was accompanied by a light, which rapidly drew 
near. Looking anxiously in the direction of the 
sound, old Im-Imhammad muttered through her 
teeth : — " Maskeen ! Bara esh sharr ! — Poor 
fellow ! Evil. 

A horseman with bell and torch dashed up. It 
was as the old soothsayer had expected : a Bedawi 
boy had been bitten by a viper and according 
to custom a messenger had been sent with bell 
and torch to announce the sad news and search 



44 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

for a remedy. Im-Imhammad quickly prepared 
Zaqum-oil and fruit plaster, and inquired when 
the accident happened. The envoy told her 
** many hours before," whereupon a grave look 
came into the old woman's eyes. She knew 
that the boy would be dead before the remedy 
arrived. 

Im-Imhammad's last words as we started in 
the half light preceding dawn were : — 

" La ter'haloo ydme er'heelhum. 
Wala tughussloo y6me ghaseelhum," ^ 

and gravely shaking her head at me, she added : — 
" My child, Allah yesahhel 'alaik ! — May Allah 
smooth the way for you ! " 

As this was the general retreat of the Fellahin 
of the Kaffrain, there was a great commotion on 
the banks of the Jordan when we reached the great 
river. Fellahin and Fellahat were busy pouring 
the grain from the great Fardies on to out-spread 
sacks ; others were filling the Kirbies. Camels and 
donkeys were being stripped of their saddles and 
bound at the jaws. The swimmers stood in readi- 
ness and the non-swimmers had small inflated 
Se'in^ on their backs to help them across the 
stream. A fierce June sun poured its rays upon us. 

At last everybody had crossed. Those of my 

* " Forbear to start on their starting day," — that is, the day 
on which the soul leaves the body. " Neither wash on the day 
they are washed," — a reference to the washing of the dead before 
entombment. 

* Small Kirbies. 



A NARROW ESCAPE 45 

caravan had already started on their journey, 
leaving me — the last as usual — to cross the Jordan 
once more and fetch my mare. Just as the 
last Fellah with his animals disappeared round the 
marly hills I popped into the water and struck 
out for the opposite bank. 

But no sooner had I clambered ashore than I 
heard a sound of galloping, and the next moment a 
fully-armed Bedawi, with his spear pointed towards 
me, drew up. 

" Very glad to meet you/' he said, sarcastically. 
" I see you are a perfect swimmer, and I am glad 
to have arrived in time for I know nothing of your 
art. There is myself, my mare, a valuable she- 
camel and her young to be carried over the river. 
Now, you will set to work at once to get us across, 
beginning with the animals. And take care you 
don't lose any, otherwise your mare and rifle will 
be confiscated. Moreover, if you play me any 
tricks, I shall leave your carcass to the Cheetahs 
2tnd let your soul go to hell-fire, which is your 
/ultimate lot, dog of an infidel ! " 
' Dismounting and seizing my mare by its bridle, 
he sat down on the sand and began, in a menacing 
tone, to give me further orders : — 

" Now, set to work cheerfully. You had better 
begin with my 'Hamra, ^ which you'll tie very fast 
on the other side. Then hurry back to take over 
her yoimg, for if you are lazy the mother will 

* A red cow-camel. 

5— (2131) 



46 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

break loose and cross over to her calf. Then you 
would have to begin over again. This being done 
you will fetch me. I know you would not risk 
running away with my mare on this side the river, 
but you might do so on the western side and then 
join your caravan. So you take my mare the 
last — and then do what you like, for I shall have 
no further need of your services. Come now, hurry 
up!" 

And hurry I did. At every crossing he threat- 
ened me with death should any of his animals 
slip and be drowned. 

Never shall I forget that crossing of the Jordan 
with the Bedawi's red cow-camel. She bellowed 
continuously for her calf and pulled in the opposite 
direction, endeavouring to return. All the time 
the swift current of the Jordan was carrying me 
down stream, trying my muscles — weary with four 
hours* swimming — to the uttermost. How I raged, 
inwardly, at that ironical savage, and how ashamed 
I felt at being treated Uke a vile slave ! There 
was nothing for it, however, but to work hard and 
cheerfully. 

When, finally, I landed the camel she was 
simply raving, and I had great difficulty in making 
her kneel down under the shadow of a lofty poplar 
and binding her knees, so that she could not rise. 
My second crossing was easy, — the calf, like a 
Bedawiy6, followed calmly and with a look of 
confidence in her baby eyes. And no sooner 



WILD THOUGHTS 47 

had we landed than it galloped towards its mother, 
crying as though they had been parted for months. 

The Bedawi was waiting for me on my return. 
He was stripped and equipped with Se'in on his 
back. On his head, in a broad packet, were his 
personal belongings and my rifle. 

" This," he said, pointing to the bundle, *' is 
the safest way. Allah is indeed great to have sent 
this infidel to work for me." 

As we stepped into the Jordan, a grim thought 
flashed through my mind : " Suppose, when we 
reach mid-stream, I let him go ? " But the next 
moment my Christian training corrected me. 
" No, — that would never do : he is a man, with a 
soul, after all. Besides, the act would be a 
cowardly one. . . . Could Im-Imhammad but see 
me in that position would she sanction the aban- 
donment of a fellow-creature ? No. She would 
say : * Why did you start when there was a 
funeral ? But you would have your own way, 
and now you must bear the consequences.' " 
Musing thus, I tightened my grip on the cord, 
and a few minutes later dragged the Bedawi ashore. 

" You have worked nicely," said the savage, 
who, in spite of his authoritative words, looked 
terrified at the crossing. " Now you can fetch 
my mare, a prize animal ; and as a reward I 
will remain with you until you reach your caravan." 

I thanked him for his generosity, went back 
for the most valuable animal of all — himself 



48 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

included, and brought her over, as docile as the 
young camel. When all were gathered on the 
western banks of the Jordan I gave a great sigh 
of relief. Then I went to fetch my faithful mare, 
Athene. 

It took me but a moment to dress on getting 
back, to seize my rifle which the Bedawi had placed 
against a willow, and to vault into the saddle. 
At that moment a boar and sow, with seven or 
eight Uttle ones, came rushing by. The Bedawi, 
already on his horse, at once set off in pursuit, 
shouting to me to follow. But all I wanted was to 
flee from the scene of my adventure and reach my 
friends. A word in Athene's ear was enough, — 
with a snort of joy and a bound she was off, 
galloping at the top of her speed across the plains 
and scattering the jerboas, porcupine mice, and 
other small rodents which burrow in the sand, in 
all directions. 

Saleh el-Kaak, his sons and the other Fellahin 
of our caravan were waiting for me near the 
ruins of *Ain-Sultan, beyond Jericho, wondering 
what had become of me, but, suffocated by the 
heat, making no attempt to find me. They 
cursed the father of the Bedawi for having detained 
me ; then dismissed the matter from their minds. 

A long six hours' ride up the stony roads of 
Judaea, a few ascents and descents on Mount 
Olivet, down the Kedron, up Moriah and Zion, 
brought these episodes of my youth to a close. 



THE DREADED " WAKHAM " 49 

V 
" Why has Philip not come ? " anxiously asked 
my father, in Arabic, when we arrived and his 
eyes glanced from one to the other . . . Wild and 
sunburnt indeed I must have looked to have 
thus been unrecognised by my own father ! 
He could not believe that a two months* sojourn 
in the Bedamn country could have produced so 
complete a transformation. 

* « ♦ ♦ 

'* Is this the result of too great a strain ? Is 
it the dreaded Wakham, or malarial fever, that has 
put the boy in this condition ? " asked the English 
doctor of Jerusalem when I awoke after three 
weeks unconsciousness. " However, the danger 
is over now. We shall pull him through, after 
all." 

Yes, the danger was over then, but I had to 
struggle against my illness for nearly six months 
more. 

It was many years before I went into that 
death-trap of the Jordan again, and then only 
for a day or two at a time, on tour and under 
vastly different conditions. 



/ 



Ill 

SONS OF THE PHILISTINES 

I 

Muhammad Moos a was at his prayers, and as he 
prayed he combed his flowing pepper-and-salt 
beard. More than usual fervour entered, on this 
August evening, into his praying and his combing, 
for he was about to make a journey on which it 
was meet that Allah should lovingly watch over 
one of the descendants of his Prophet and that this 
descendant — no other than the handsome, black- 
eyed, aquiline-nosed, dark-skinned Sherif Muham- 
mad Moosa himself — should be impeccable in his 
personal appearance. 

" Blessed be the name of Allah, who protecteth 
his servants in the hour of danger," murmured 
the kneehng Muhammad Moosa. " Watch, oh ! 
aU powerful one, over Sherif Moosa and his com- 
panions. Grant that the camels stumble not, — 
that they travel to Jerusalem unheeded and 
unharmed. Thrust aside from our path all with 
inquisitive eyes, for thy servant is a man of peace, 
who loveth not the use of force. But should, 
perchance, the enemies of thy servant stumble in 
his way, give him — oh ! protector of those who 
bring forth fruits from the soil — the strength to 
smite and put them to shame." 

50 



KHALEEL'S TOILET 51 

A sound of footsteps at the entrance to the hut 
made the kneehng Fellah turn his head. It was 
Khaleel Ibrahim, a dark-skinned, eagle-nosed, 
black-bearded man of thirty-five, dressed and 
equipped as though for a journey. His principal 
clothing consisted of the Thob, a white shirt with 
open front and wide sleeves, which revealed his 
hairy breast and bare arms almost up to the 
shoulders. On his head was a red cap, surrounded 
by a large yellow and grey striped turban ; on his 
feet were raw camel-hide shoes, known as Watta. 
Encircling his waist was a broad leather girdle, 
and to this were attached a number of iron hooks, 
to which were suspended a powder horn of solid 
wood, a long chain with a knife dangling at the 
end, a leather bag to hold lead and bullets for 
firearms, a tobacco pouch with a pipe, and a 
smaller pouch containing flint and steel and tinder, 
made from a composite plant called Soufaan. 

Khaleel Ibrahim had come to tell his chief that 
the hour for departure had arrived. Bringing 
his prayer to an abrupt termination, Muhammad 
Moosa rose to his feet and, as he arranged his 
immense green turban (a sign of his claim to pro- 
phetic descent) gave his orders. A complicated 
piece of work — this arrangement of the Sherif's 
turban, his caps and their contents ; and one 
that took much longer than the giving of a few 
brief instructions regarding the loading of the 
camels. Besides the white cap, or Takiyeh, he 



52 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

wore the red Tarbush, and between these the 
grey felt Lubbaad. Between the Lubbaad and 
the Tarbush, Muhammad Moosa kept his cigarette- 
papers, his tax-papers and other documents, and 
tucked away between the three caps and the 
turban were Httle bottles of tar or scent and the 
wooden comb with which, whilst saying his prayers, 
he daily combed his beard. 

The loading of the six camels was already well 
advanced when Muhammad Moosa issued into the 
open air. His five companions were quick and 
skilful workers. Khaleel Ibrahim, with his wide 
sleeves folded out of the way under his Shmaar, 
set them a constant example. Besides, was he 
not Moosa' s right-hand man and feared almost as 
much as the master ? 

A more homogeneous band than this little party 
of camel-drivers it would have been difficult to 
find in the whole length and breadth of the plains 
of the Philistines. Personal interests, family 
ties and the sympathy which springs up between 
men of the same town or region indissolubly 
bound them together. Khaleel Ibrahim was a 
native of Ashdod, one of the chief towns of 
Philistia. Ehmad Jabber, a young man of twenty- 
eight just home from military service, was also 
from that place. Ethman Abd el-'Hei, although 
bom in Gaza, had so long Uved in Ashdod, where 
he was married to two wives, Halime and Fatme, 
that he was regarded by Khaleel and Ehmad 



WEAPONS 53 

as a brother townsman. Abdallah Saleh, about 
thirty years of age, was from Shuweikeh, the 
Bibhcal Shochoh, where David slew Gohath.^ 
And the twenty-year-old Yesmain 'Ali, whose 
black beard was just sprouting, hailed from 
'Ain-Shams, the Beth-shemesh of the Bible. ^ 

Yet these sons of the Philistines were singularly 
diversified in their personal characteristics — and 
to a certain extent also as regards their accoutre- 
ments. With his dandily-trimmed fair beard, 
grey eyes and regular Grecian nose, Ehmad Jabber 
was an Apollo in comparison with Ethman Abd- 
el-^Hei. Ethman, a man of close upon forty, had 
a thick Egyptian nose, a dark but scanty beard 
and moustachios, and a physiognomy which well 
accorded with his warlike equipment, consisting 
of a goodly selection of his comrades' arms and a 
formidable Naboot, an oak club, all in one piece, 
which could be used either against an enemy or 
simply to induce the camels to increase their 
pace. Ehmad' s favourite weapon was a curved, 
double-edged dagger, modestly designated by the 
name Shibriyeh — the span long, — although, as 
usual, it was twice that length. Its sheath was 
ornamented with a brass plate, bearing his name, 
and this detail indicated a certain coquetry which 
appeared also in his dress. As a rule, his clothing 
difered but sUghtly from Khaleel's. But on the 
present occasion his turban was smaller and 

^ I. Samuel xvii. * I. Samuel vi. 9. 



54 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

adorned with red stripes. His shoes — or Surma, 
as they are called in Arabic — were of blood-red, 
tanned sheep-leather, with camel-hide soles and 
very pointed turned-up toes. And instead of the 
Abba, that brown and grey mantle almost uni- 
versally adopted by the Fellahin of Palestine, he 
wore a dark blue and black cloak, called a Shaale. 
Abdallah Saleh's short and almost red beard, 
his blue eyes and fair skin, sunburnt and freckled, 
suggested descent from one of the Crusaders. His 
equipment was much the same as that of the others. 
But his turban was brown, and behind the right 
ear the end of his hair-tuft, the Shushey — by which 
Mohammed the Prophet will take up his own 
people on the day of judgment — was peeping out. 
Over his shirt he wore a short yellow and white 
jacket, and on the third finger of his right hand was 
a silver ring with a huge stone, on which, as he 
was a municipal councillor of his native village, 
his name was engraved. With this ring, at times, 
he sealed official documents, thus dispensing with 
the signing of his name, which he would have found 
a difficulty in doing. For, like all the others, 
including even Sherif Moosa, he was illiterate. 
Long ago he had known a few letters, but all he 
could do now was to make out numbers, which he 
called ** Indian figures." His Shmaar, too, was 
ornamented by a couple of multicoloured tassels, 
made by a girl of Shuweikeh when, years ago, 
he had silently courted her. 



LOADING THE CAMELS 55 

There was evidence of a feminine hand also 
on young Yesmain ^AH's dress. His white cap, 
which he took good care should extend well below 
his red Tarbush, was neatly trimmed with silk- 
laced ornaments, — delicate work by one of his 
admirers of which he was mighty proud. There 
was a quaint mixture of refinement and savagedom 
about Yesmain ^Ali. Like every Fellah, his ears 
was diminutive and bent down by his caps and 
turban. His Thob was always pulled up under 
his girdle, leaving his legs bare to the knees, and 
in the pouch thus formed by his shirt he carried 
his handkerchief, his tobacco, and sometimes — 
since he often went barefooted — his shoes. In his 
waist-belt was stuck a Tubbar, an iron-headed 
hooked club, leaving his hands free to handle his 
gun, with which, when after partridges, or any 
big bird, he was an excellent shot. 

Muhammad Moosa himself took part in the load- 
ing of the last camel. Like Eleazar, he called 
it by its name and ordered it, with a guttural 
sound, to bow—" Ikh !-ikh !-ikh ! " 

At the sound of its master's voice the animal 
knelt upon the level ground. Meanwhile, Khaleel 
and AbdaUah had brought forth the huge black 
goats' hair sacks with which it was to be loaded, 
— some four to five hundred pounds weight in aU, 
and these everybody assisted in hoisting into their 
places. The camel, besides a halter and a long 
guide-rope with which to lead it, was provided 



56 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

with a pack-saddle, with a deep cavity in the middle 
for the hump and two thick poles attached right 
and left J and longer than the saddle proper. To 
these sticks were tied the ropes to hold the load 
in place and a girdle to keep the saddle in position. 
The load was divided into three: two big ones 
right and left, and one resting on the saddle's flat 
top. 

** Howell! " cried Sherif Moosa, when everything 
was securely fixed, and the camel rose, to take its 
place with the others in a long file, the halter-rope 
of one attached to the tail-strap of another. 

II 

The final preparations for departure had been 
made and Sherif Moosa, with his hand on the guide- 
rope of the leading camel, had given the order 
to start. Slowly, in the half light of evening, 
the little band moved over the plains of the 
Philistines. 

Long, waiUng sounds were beginning to fill the 
whole of the lowlands : the voices of jackals 
hunting about for carcasses or other debris. One 
jackal responded to another, — then two, then ten, 
then twenty, and finally hundreds, all howling 
together. No one is afraid of them, since they 
never attack man ; nor are they afraid of men, 
who pass them by unheeded. 

On these fertile plains, from Jaffa to Gaza 
and from Ascalon to Zoreah and the rock of 



FELLAH INDEPENDENCE 57 

Etam, the hiding-place of Samson/ are miles 
upon miles of beautiful wheat and barley-fields. 
There are tobacco plants, too, growing from two to 
six feet in height, and the dry leaves of which 
the Turkish Government buys and monopolizes. 
But the modern Fellah of Palestine is a true 
descendant of the Phihstines, — he has in no way 
changed in character, and he starts — like Sherif 
Muhammad Moosa and his companions — to sell his 
tobacco by smuggling it into Jerusalem. He knows 
that, on the long way winding up the Vale of Sorek 
(Wad-es-Sarrar) and on the lowlands, no Govern- 
ment agent would dare to venture. It was common 
knowledge that anyone approaching a party of 
smugglers would be shot down without mercy. 
This was their land and their tobacco, — not the 
hated Turks'. They were legitimately defending 
their own possessions, the fruit of long hours of 
toil under the broiling sun. It was war to the 
bitter end should any intruder attempt to bar 
their way between Ashdod (Sedud) and the Plain 
of Rephaim, near Jerusalem. 

Although they knew that they were in all 
security in these byways (unless some spy should 
denounce them, which was unUkely), Moosa 's men 
did not neglect to keep a sharp look out to right 
and left, and with their guns ever ready. 

" Masha Allah ! By God's will, our camels 
are strong and good," said Ethman Abd-el-'Hei 

* Judges XV. 8. 



^ 



58 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

to Abdallah Saleh, who was immediately in front 
of him. 

" And Allah, in his goodness, has put out the 
moon for us," replied Abdallah. 

" Truly everything is in our favour," chimed 
in young Yesmain 'Ali. " But we have yet to 
get the tobacco over the walls of Jerusalem." 

" All in good time," exclaimed Khaleel Ibrahim. 
" Allah will not abandon his servants in the hour 
of need. Besides, Ehmad Jabber and I have a 
plan for tricking the tobacco-inspector. We will 
talk about that later." 

Sherif Moosa was too occupied with the camels 
to take part in the conversation. From time to 
time he encouraged the animals to maintain their 
pace for four kilometres an hour with a sharp cry 
of " Allah ! Ya musahel !— Oh ! leveller of the 
road ! " Sometimes he would utter the warning 
" Ikhly ! — Look out, mind the stones ! " where- 
upon the leading camel would carefully avoid the 
obstacle and, pricking up his short ears in the act 
of listening, would turn his large inteUigent head 
in the direction of the voice, chewing the cud the 
while. To kill time, Moosa also played a mono- 
tonous air on his Neiye, a double flute made of 
eagle-wing bones and ornamented with a few 
primitive drawings. The camels much appre- 
ciated this music, lifting up their heads and 
affecting a few dancing steps, until " Ikhly ! " 
once more reminded them to beware. 



A REPTILE ACCOMPLICE 59 

Shortly after midnight the smugglers passed 
near to one of the tobacco growing villages. As 
there was still room on the camels, Moosa decided 
to increase his store by means of a trick well known 
to tobacco-thieves. A lizard was his accomplice, 
— the big thorny stalue-lizard, the weU-known 
Hardon of Palestine, which is about seven inches 
in length, with long claws and a very resisting 
tail. ^ It runs up the walls very quickly and 
lays hold of any stone or bush it can find. Catch 
it by its tail and pull, and the harder it tightens 
its grip. Knowing this peculiarity, Moosa took 
advantage of it in the following manner. Khaleel 
Ibrahim, who always carried a couple of stalue- 
lizards with him in a leather bag, produced one 
of them, and, attaching a cord to its tail, tossed it 
on to the flat top of one of the village houses, 
where the smugglers suspected that tobacco leaves 
might be suspended on strings to dry. The 
Hardon, in its endeavours to escape, attached 
itself to one of the strings and held tight. As soon 
as Khaleel' s experienced hand felt that his living 
fishing-tackle had got a firm hold, he puUed hard — 
and down came the Hardon with the coveted 
tobacco. 

In the terrible Wady Esmain, the road led 
through the dry river bed, strewn with huge 
washed-down stones. The only sign of the past 
winter's moisture were a few Agnus castus plants. 

^ See The Grey Trio, p. 20. 



60 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Along the high cHffs and in the almost impenetrable 
brushwood a few leopards — the last of their kind 
— lay in wait for any stray animal, such as a goat 
or a lamb, that might come that way. ^ 

Day was about to break when, on the second 
day of their march, the file of camels reached 
Battir — the Bether of Solomon's Song. ^ Moosa 
and his men, tired and dusty, camped under the 
olive-groves. Weary, too, were the animals, 
requiring no invitation to kneel down and be 
relieved of the sacks of tobacco, which were 
promptly hidden away in the thickets near by, 
to be ready in case of emergency. Soon, everyone 
(even the guardians) was sound asleep, — everyone 
save the young sportsman Yesmain 'Ali, who, ere 
he lay down to rest, sUpped away with the quiet- 
ness of a leopard in the direction of one of the 
vineyards, now full of Hamdany, the largest and 
most luscious grapes in Palestine. As quick 
as lightning, he lifted the hedge and filled the 
corner of his Abba with sufficient fruit to last the 
party for the day. In a few minutes he was back 
again ; a moment later he himself was slumbering. 
And for two hours the only sounds that could be 
heard were the heavy breathing of the sleepers and 
the crunching of the brushwood by the frugal 
lowland camels. 



1 Since the building of the Jaffa to Jerusalem railway in 1892 
leopards have entirely disappeared from this region. 

2 ii. 17. 



THE VALLEY OF THE ROSES 61 

III 

Khaleel Ibrahim and Ehmad Jabber had unfolded 
to Sherif Moosa their plan for frustrating the vigi- 
lance of the tobacco-inspector of Jerusalem and it 
had received the chief's approval. They had 
talked the matter over whilst eating Yesmain 
All's grapes, and the outcome of their conversation 
was that Ehmad Jabber had been deputed to set 
out immediately and with all speed for Jerusalem, 
a distance of eight miles from Battir. 

The day was still young when Ehmad, having 
passed through the fertile Valley of the Roses 
with its many fountains — one of which, near 
Welejeh, is said to be PhiHp's Well^ — reached his 
destination. The FeUahat were still passing in and 
out of the Jaffa Gate with their round baskets of 
vegetables, or, squatting on the ground in the 
street, were offering them for sale. Ehmad lost 
no time in proceeding to the house of the Inspector, 
situated near the Damascus Gate, and found the 
Bowaab, 2 clothed in a spotless white gown and 
with an equally immaculate turban on his head, 
sitting at the entrance, reciting his prayers and 
marking the repetitions on his rosary. 

" Sabhak bil kher, — Good morning," said Ehmad. 

" Allah ye sabhak bil kher, — May God grant 
you a good morning," replied the Bowaab. 

* Acts of the Apostles, viii. 36. 

* One of the black janitors of Takrur, who, on account of their 
reputation for faithfulness, are universally employed as guardians. 

6— (ai3i) . 



62 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

" Is the Effendi at home ? " asked Ehmad. 

" Wallah musch ^aref, — By God, I know not/' 
answered the janitor evasively, for Hke all Orientals 
he was cautious in replying to direct questions. 

Ehmad Jabber made a sign to the keeper of the 
nearest coffee-house to bring him two cups of 
moka and a small chair. When he had sat 
down in the street and begun sipping the hot coffee 
with evident delight, he made further preparations 
for a lengthy stay by ordering two narghiles. 
Whilst the rose-water in the bottles of the pipes 
was gently bubbling and the smokers inhaled long 
draughts of the sweet-scented Persian Tombak 
(the only tobacco fit for a narghile), they conversed 
about the scarcity of water in Jerusalem, the dan- 
ger of a locust invasion and the trying times, as 
though the Inspector had been long forgotten. 
But he was ever uppermost in Ehmad' s mind, 
and he kept wondering how he should once more 
introduce the subject. . . . Better speak of the 
matter no more, he decided ; — it would be much 
more simple and infinitely pleasanter to sit there 
patiently until the Effendi appeared. So, when his 
first pipe was smoked, he called for a second, which 
the Kahwadji, or coffee-house keeper, prepared 
and presented in the orthodox manner. The 
Tombak was washed, the darkest water was 
squeezed away, the tobacco was piled on the 
pipe's head and the live coals were applied. 
Then, with his hand on his breast, the Kahwadji 



PILGRIMAGES TO MECCA 63 

set down the pipe in front of his customer — a 
wealthy customer indeed, since he could afford to 
sit there and smoke two consecutive narghiles ! — 
and respectfully offered him the long tube of beau- 
tiful green leather, with its ivory mouthpiece. 
" Tefaddal — If you please," said the Madani, 
or townsman, in his own manner and idiom. 
*' Eesht, — May you live for ever," — replied the 
countryman, briefly. And he instantly resumed 
his conversation with the Bowaab, hoping every 
moment that the Inspector would not be long. 
By this time he had learnt that the janitor's name 
was 'Hadj Imhammad Abu Bekr and had heard 
how he had come by his title, — viz., by a seven 
years' stay in Mecca. A white man can receive 
the title of 'Hadj (pilgrim) after a single pilgrimage, 
but a negro must be present seven times at the great 
feast of ^Arafat to be entitled to add it to his name. 
And Imhammad Abu Bekr commented on this 
manifest injustice until Ehmad, whose thoughts 
were elsewhere, was conscious only of a meaningless 
torrent of words. 

At last, about twelve o'clock, Ehmad's patience 
was rewarded. There was a sound of quick 
footsteps along a corridor and the Inspector, a 
small-statured man with a clean shaven face and 
diminutive moustache, and dressed, save for his 
fez, like a European, appeared through the 
entrance. Ehmad rose, and with a deep bow said : — 

" I have grave news, Effendi." 



64 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

" What is it ? " asked the Inspector, whose name 
was Abd-el-Kareem. A note of distrust and dis- 
dain, ever present in relations between townsmen 
and countrymen, or vice versa, was apparent in 
his voice. 

" I have information regarding some tobacco 
smugglers," replied the Fellah, in a low tone. 
" But we must speak apart, if you would hear 
all." 

Abd-el-Kareem, who was in the custom of 
receiving information from outsiders — spies and 
traitors who readily sold themselves for a few 
pieces of silver — walked a little way down the 
street, with Ehmad at his side. When well out of 
earshot, Ehmad Jabber told a circumstantial story 
of how he had discovered that certain *' enemies " 
of his were on their way from the direction of 
Damascus with a consignment of tobacco ; how 
he had followed them under cover of the darkness 
and, through overhearing a conversation in an 
olive-grove, had learnt the hour at which they 
intended to smuggle their cargo over the Golden 
Gate. 

" With the swiftness of an eagle, I left them to 
talk over their evil designs," continued Ehmad. 
" For I was anxious that the Effendi should receive 
the news and be ready to place his all-powerful 
hand on these miscreants. But I have a condition 
to make — and only on that condition can I lead 
you, at the appointed hour, to the place where the 



A TRUSTFUL EFFENDI 65 

smugglers will pass their goods over the walls, — 
namely, that you come alone and that when I have 
pointed out the band you will allow me to depart 
and hide. For I fear the vengeance of my 
enemies and would flee from them as before a 
leper." 

Abd-el-Kareem Effendi readily consented to 
this quite natural condition. Ehmad was a 
bom actor and the manner in which he displayed 
fear at every mention of his terrible enemies would 
have deceived a much astuter man than the 
Inspector. Besides, the Effendi was in a con- 
dition, psychologically, to be deceived. For 
months he had been on the look out for an oppor- 
tunity to distinguish himself and win protection ; 
and here, at last, he saw his chance of rising to a 
higher position and escaping from his generally 
humdrum life. 

The two men promised each other strict secrecy, 
and the Effendi having told his informant to be 
sure to call him at the appointed hour, they parted. 
And whilst Ehmad, with a faint smile on his hand- 
some face, hied to a favourite coffee-house, where 
he knew he would be sure to meet more than one 
person interested in the illicit tobacco trade, the 
overjoyed Inspector hastened away to give orders 
to aU his forces to lie in ambush near St. Stephen's 
Gate and to keep a sharp look out in the direction 
of the Damascus road, whence the Fellah had told 
him the smugglers were coming. 



66 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

V 

Meanwhile, Muhammad Moosa was still in camp 
at Battir, south west of Jerusalem. The evening 
meal was in course of preparation, — a frugal meal 
of grapes and cakes baked on coals, just like those 
prepared for the Prophet Elijah. ^ Every way- 
faring Fellah, carrying his flour in a leather bag, 
the Jrab, made of the skin of a kid, knows how to 
prepare these unleavened cakes and, like the 
children of Israel,^ bake them on a roadside 
fire. 

When the sun had set, the sacks of tobacco were 
again brought forth, and quickly and silently 
the camels were loaded. The men inspected their 
weapons. Swords were slightly oiled, so that 
they could be easily drawn from the wooden 
scabbards. The flints of the firearms were tested, 
and every gun and pistol was loaded, so that, 
in case of need, everyone would have firearms in 
double. There is no more suspicious person in the 
world than a Fellah. Friend or foe, smuggler or 
honest camel-driver, are all to be avoided in the 
darkness of the night. 

The three villages of Battir, Welejeh and Malha 
could be passed without being observed, for all 
are about a mile or so from the main road or the 
dry river-bed, and Fellahin go to bed early. The 
German colony on the Plain of Rephaim presented 
no very serious difficulty, although the colonists 

* I. Kings xix. 6. * Exodus xii. 39. 



GATES OF JERUSALEM 67 

had lights and, even up to a late hour, were about 
their homes, or in the beer-houses. Foreigners in 
Palestine know little or nothing of the doings or 
even the language of the inhabitants of the coun- 
try. But there was some danger in crossing the 
Valley of Hinnom and in skirting the walls of 
Jerusalem, — past Zion's Gate, the Dung Gate, 
Ophel and the comer of the Temple. The senti- 
nels, however, were dozing and the night was 
fairly dark, consequently all these danger points 
were passed without incident. 

Since the doors of Jerusalem close about sunset, 
so that nobody can enter the city save through 
the Jaffa Gate, on the western side, the Turkish 
sentinels posted near the five other entrances 
are not habitually vigilant ; the nearer midnight 
approaches the more they are inclined to slumber. 
On the August night when Sherif Muhammad 
Moosa and his six camels drew near to the walls of 
Jerusalem they were all sound asleep. The only 
watchers were Abd-el-Kareem Effendi and Ehmad 
Jabber, waiting above the Golden Gate, and the 
Inspector's soldiers at St. Stephen's Gate, futilely 
peering into the darkness and straining their ears 
to catch the sound of camels and men on the 
march, — a sound which was never to come. The 
only other wakeful living things on the eastern 
walls of the Holy City were hundreds of ravens 
which croaked and flew up and down the for- 
tifications as though conscious that this quiet 



68 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

place was for once to be the scene of some unusual 
occurrence. 

Nearer and nearer the silent-footed camels 
approached. Moosa and his men spoke not a word. 
All their thought and energy was centred on the 
idea that they might have to fight, — on the danger 
of their enterprise, — on their eerie surroundings. 
They could not suppress a kind of superstitious 
terror, inspired by the indistinct outlines of the 
walls and buildings. The round head-like stones 
which project over the tombs in the Mohammedan 
cemetery (the tombs of believers haunted by the 
ghosts of those who had done evil in their lifetime) 
looked like so many guardians peeping out to 
detect them ; the sacred dome of the Mosque of 
Omar on the Haram above seemed like a gigantic 
mountain ready to topple over and crush them. 
Sherif Moosa wondered whether Ehmad Jabber had 
succeeded in his mission. Where was the Inspec- 
tor and his soldiers at that moment ? Would 
they have to fight, after all ? 

The Muazzin on the minaret beyond the pre- 
cincts of the Temple called the faithful to prayer : 
" Hei u 'alia saleh, — Awake and to your 
prayers ! " It was midnight. 

Just then the well-known voice of Ehmad rang 
out through the stillness of the night : — 

" Friend or foe ? " 

" Friend," answered Muhammad, who was still 
with the leading camel. 



-y*"** 




OVER THE WALL 69 

And quietly and quickly he ordered his men to 
make the camels kneel against the walls^ awaiting 
the signal for passing the tobacco into the city. 

" They are here, Effendi/' whispered Ehmad to 
Abd-el-Kareem. " But they must have deviated 
from the Damascus road and so escaped the 
attention of the soldiers at St. Stephen's Gate. 
However, they shall not slip through our fingers. 
I have an idea. I will let you down the walls by a 
rope ; then I will go and inform the soldiers at 
St. Stephen's Gate ; and whilst you are meeting 
them below I will rouse the sentinels, who surely 
must be slumbering at their posts. In this way 
we shall cut off their retreat — they will be as 
though within the meshes of a net. Quick, 
Effendi ! — we must act promptly, otherwise the 
enemy will escape us." 

Already Ehmad had drawn a rope from beneath 
his Thob and was fastening one end around 
Abd-el-Kareem' s waist. The Inspector, over- 
anxious about his future, at once fell in with the 
Fellah's proposals, and a few moments later was 
being slowly lowered over the waUs. But when 
half-way down his progress stopped. The cun- 
ning Ehmad Jabber had gained his ends. Securely 
fastening the rope to a projecting piece of rock, 
he left the Effendi to swing in the air and grapple 
against the wall's rough masonry. 

A few minutes later, and not fifty yards away 
from where Abd-el-Kareem, foaming with rage, 



70 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

was hanging, Ehmad's strong young arms had 
assisted Yesmain Ali to scale the walls of Jeru- 
salem. Together they hauled up the sacks of 
tobacco and passed them through the Temple 
to the well-known shops. 

Sherif Muhammad Moosa's camels and camel- 
drivers were half-way home again when, late 
the next morning, the scorched and exhausted 
Inspector was delivered from his trying position. 
His first impulse was to make known this outrage 
on a Government official and seek out the offending 
Ehmad and his accomplices, but, feeling as foolish 
as a fox taken in by a hen, he wisely decided to 
say nothing more about it, and thus the truth was 
long withheld from the public. 



IV 

EHMAD IMHAMAD'S VISION 

I HAD just read the 96th verse of the 2nd Sura of 
the Koran and was puzzled as to its exact meaning. 
European translators have not always been pre- 
cise, either in their translation of the Torah (Pen- 
tateuch) or in that of the Koran ; in spite of all 
their efforts, oracles have remained obscure. 
However, here is very nearly the wording of the 
original text which set me thinking : — 

" They (unbelieving Jews) have followed the 
works which the demons prepared against King 
Solomon. (These works, as Yahia explains, were 
books of magic which the demons had hidden 
under the throne of Solomon. After the king's 
death they brought them forth and made the 
people believe that the king's knowledge came from 
these books.) Solomon remained fervent and the 
demons alone were unbelievers. They taught 
men the art of magic and the knowledge of the 
two angels Haroot and Maroot in Babylon. 
(Haroot and Maroot, Yahia continues to say, 
were sent to the earth, to Babylon, to teach justice. 
They indeed judged with equity until Venus, in 
aU her splendour, came to plead against her hus- 
band. The Angels were dazzled by her beauty and 
charms, and told her of their feelings, whereupon 
she vanished. Consequently they were condemned 

71 



72 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

to remain in Babylon until Judgment Day.) 
The Angels told everybody before teaching him : 
We are the temptation, do not act against the 
belief. They taught concerning those things which 
bring forth division between a woman and her 
husband. But, without Allah's will, they could 
harm nobody. They taught what was harmful, 
nothing useful. They did not know that whoever 
buys books of magic cannot possess manners and 
clothes in a future hfe." 

How comes it, thought I, on reading this con- 
demnation of magic, based on an older passage 
in the Hebrew Bible, ^ that Ehmad Imhamad, a 
dervish of the Bedawi order who had given me 
much information regarding those of his calling, 
should possess books of magic and foretell events 
by reading them in the sand ? Immediately the 
idea of consulting him on the subject occurred to 
me. But where was he Hkely to be found ? As 
he was a wandering dervish and gained a livelihood 
by his art, he might be wandering about the Plains 
of Sharon, somewhere between Ekron, the ancient 
Baal-zebub, ^ Naby-Rubin, near the mouth of the 
River Rubin, and Sheikh Sidna 'Ali, north of 
Jaffa. Unless he were on the banks of the green 
River *Auja ? There was but one way of deciding 
the question, — to jump astride my horse and seek 

^ Deuteronomy xviii. 10-11. 

2 II. Kings i. 16. Flies (zebub) are so numerous there that 
it is no wonder they were considered as a power, and power is a 
god. 



THE DERVISH 73 

him out. Accordingly I rode to his native village, 
Beit Dejan, near to the place where Dagon had his 
temple in the days of the Philistines. But he had 
departed that morning towards the south, possibly 
to Lydda or Ramleh, where he had many chents. 
However, after another hour in the saddle, I 
espied him sitting near Btr-ez-Zeibak, known as the 
well where St. George met the dragon. 

He was dreaming in the sun, his short spear, 
ornamented with green and red ribbons round the 
base of the blade, stuck in the ground near him. 
His long black hair, parted in the middle, fell over 
his shoulders, and, since it had been freshly 
anointed with oil that very morning, shone in the 
sunshine. He wore only a white flowing garment 
with a leather belt. Beside him lay a black mantle 
and a satchel containing several tin cases, in which 
he kept his dervish diplomas, a few pieces of 
incense and alum, a few dates and figs, and a 
small square book, tightly wrapped in green and 
red cloth and tied with silk strings. His bare 
feet, as well as his brown face and arms, were 
scrupulously clean, for he had not forgotten any 
of his regular five prayers, including his ablutions, 
for a very long time. In his right hand he held a 
short almond rod, the Mehjane, which most 
dervishes carry about with them, since it is said 
to have the power to heal the sick and drive away 
serpents. It reminded me of the rod of Moses. ^ 

* Exodus vii. 



74 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Alighting from my mare, I tethered her to an 
olive tree and walked towards him with a greeting. 

" Good morning, oh Sheikh ! " 

" A hundred mornings with peace be yours, 
Abu Tuna," replied Ehmad Imhamad. 

He called me by the name under which I 
generally went in the East : Abu Tuna, — i.e.j 
the Father of Fortuna, the name of my eldest 
daughter. 

I handed him my tobacco-pouch and apologized 
for having forgotten the matches. Without wast- 
ing words, he opened a small leather purse and 
bringing out a square flint stone, a piece of steel 
and the fibres of a dry plant set them down beside 
us. After we had rolled our cigarettes in silence, 
he struck fire and handed me the small brand, 
saying :— 

" May its heat spare you." 

" And may you never feel its evil," I repHed, 
as I prepared to light my cigarette. 

A few more compliments passed between us, 
after which we sat smoking in silence ; and as the 
blue clouds went up in circles both of us meditated, 
— I thinking of how to begin the conversation and 
he of the questions that the Franji (Frank) had 
come to ask him. It was Ehmad who at last 
broke the silence. 

** Peace to you. How are you ? " 

" God's peace be with you," said I. " Thanks 
to Allah, the Lord of the Universe, — II Hamdu 




/. H. Hcdladjian, Haifa 



A Dervish 



ORIENTAL COMPLIMENTS 75 

lillah Rab el 'Alameen, — I came merely to see 
about your health." 

" Allah be praised ! True friends find each 
other. Your politeness and good education speak 
out of you." 

" Oh ! Sheikh, I am but a child compared to 
you and your exquisite ways. Now that I have 
seen you, I beg you to allow me to continue on my 
way." 

Saying which I rose and stretched out my hand. 
But he took it and pulled me down to him, saying : 

" Stay awhile. It is some time since we talked. 
Are you in a hurry ? Remember that Hurry is 
from Satan. God preserve us ! Put away your 
Franji ideas and let us have a chat." 

Only too willing to do as he bid me, I sat down 
and touched his bag. 

" Ah ! Sheikh, how full of knowledge this is. 
What is there unknown to you ? " 

And I took out his book of magic. 

" No," he said, " avoid that evil work. You 
know that, though I read it and by its help find 
the clue to many mysteries unknown to the sons of 
Adam, it really is wicked to use it. And I have 
taken a secret oath that I will destroy it as soon as 
Fate (Naseeb) calls me to a better way. To tell 
you the truth, they (the Jan or Genii) have revealed 
to me so many starthng things that I think it is 
more comfortable not to know anything more 
about them. You know, quite as well as myself. 



76 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

that when Iblis (the devil) lived quietly in Paradise, 
long before there were human beings, he had 
many children, who went about in peace in gardens 
with running waters of eternal life, purified wives 
and contentment, side by side with Allah who 
looked with love on his servants. But when Allah 
created Adam and Eve, and commanded Iblis 
to worship Adam, he refused and blasphemed with 
his children, 1 whereupon he was called Shatam, 
or Blasphemer, and sent to Earth with all his 
people. But as he drank Eternal Life Water he 
roams about until Resurrection Day doing what- 
ever harm he can to the sons of Adam. He it 
was who taught Haroot and Maroot the art of 
sorcery and magic, so that harm would continue." 

I was glad that Ehmad Imhamad had touched 
on the subject I had at heart, and I knew that 
once he had started he would tell me much more, 
provided that I did not show eagerness to know his 
secrets at once. 

" You know the 'Ajami whose shrine is up in 
the hills of the Jerusalem region," he went on, 
in a low voice. " Well, thanks to my book and 
cabahstic signs, he appeared to me right in his 
shrine, in the forest above Beit-Mahsir. It was a 
Thursday evening and I sat there beating my 
drum, accompanying cymbals and drums which 
were being beaten by unseen legions in honour of 
the Wely, as the spirits of departed dervishes 

* Koran, Sura ii. verse 32. 



THE 'AJAMI 77 

usually do when humans do not accomplish their 
devotions. I was just in the act of burning 
incense when suddenly a bright yellowish light 
burst forth near the Mehrab (prayer-niche) and the 
'Ajami himself appeared in long flowing robes, 
amidst the clash of golden cymbals and the beating 
of a silver drum covered with gazelle hide. He 
bowed and rose, surrounded by green and red fires, 
the smoke of which filled all the Mosque (Jame*) ; 
only, unlike ordinary smoke, it did not hurt 
the eyes but gave forth a precious odour of rose- 
water and myrrh. * Neither move nor speak,' 
said the 'Ajami, in a solemn voice. * Beware of 
interrupting me, either by signs or by words. 
Listen to all that I have to tell you, otherwise, 
at the least indication of awe or astonishment, I 
shall strike you — perhaps dead — and all will 
vanish.' Acquiescing in my heart, I felt soft silk 
cushions all about me, and when I was tired my 
position was changed, as if someone had guessed 
my feelings. At the same time the 'Ajami began 
to speak in a clear voice, softer than the evening 
breeze which murmured in the fir-trees round his 
abode, more melodious than the song of the 
thistle-finch and yet as energetic as if his words 
had been of steel. He gave me permission to 
repeat every word of what he said, if I chose to 
do so when back again among humans ; but at 
the same time, as I was then a sorcerer, he called 
upon me to abandon magic and follow God. 

7— (2131) 



78 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Of course, as long as I lived by my wicked art, I 
could not utter the name of Allah. My ' God 
preserve us from him ' ^ was not efficacious, so I 
left that for others to pronounce. But thanks to 
Him, the Creator of the Universe, I am back again, 
and thanks to my Lord the 'Ajami, though I am 
not of his dervishes, I found the right way once more. 
" * Listen,' said the 'Ajami. * If I change my 
place or go further off, do not attempt to follow me, 
for I will let you hear me no matter how far away 
I am.' And saying this he took breath and stood 
above the ground, with his spear turned in the 
direction of El Kuds esh Shareef (Jerusalem). 
' My name is 'Ajami and a Stranger I always was. 
I know that the sons of Adam think my name 
means *' a Persian " or "the bearer of date-stones," 
but I know best. I was created in Paradise with 
legions of other beings ; and in his wisdom AUah 
knew that some would be his servants for ever, 
some were destined to go down on Earth and be 
human beings for a time, as prophets, saints, 
welies ; some would revolt against his orders for a 
fraction of eternity and be converted again, whUst 
others would be turned into hell-fire and, with 
Ibhs, do harm among mankind. Paradise is the 
garden above the skies and from the central roots 
of the central tree flow brooks of milk and honey. 
As I was among the Just, I was allowed to drink 

* Ehmad Imhamad would not willingly repeat Satan's name. 
He almost invariably said either " him " or " them." 



A MONSTROUS ANGEL 79 

the water of the Kowthar River, the principal 
stream in Eden, which flows in a bed of precious 
stones with the very banks all strewn with gems. 
Its water — giving eternal life — is sweeter than 
honey, whiter than milk, colder than snow, 
softer than cream, and I carried it to my lips in 
silver cups deposited there for the use of the Just. 
As I was a Stranger, El Kadri, El Badawi, El 
Dsuki and El Erfal were jealous that I should 
receive the same privilege as many others of the 
Just and always strove against me, knowing that I 
was destined to go to Earth and become a Wely. 
I again met these leaders of dervish orders in 
Palestine and they fought against me and still 
continue to do so. 

" * Now recollect that when Allah created the 
first Angel as was revealed to our prophet later, 
he was so enormous that he had 70,000 heads and 
each head had 70,000 faces, each face 70,000 mouths 
and each mouth 70,000 tongues. Each tongue 
could speak 70,000 dialects, and as God's praise 
was being sung by every tongue a new spiritual 
creature, an Angel, was formed. Thus were the 
seven heavens peopled. But one of the clans had 
Iblis, with his children, the Jan, as chief, and when 
Allah finally created Adam and ordered Iblis 
to worship this last creation, he refused and was 
turned out of heaven with his host to Hve on the 
islands and on the mountains of the earth, ^ or 

* Koran, Sura ii. 32. 



80 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

to go to and fro on the face of the earth, ^ where 
they will have time to repent until Judgment Day, 
whilst the most wicked were sent to Jehunum 
(Hell) to fill that place. 2 " Aouzi Billah !— My 
strength is in God ! " exclaimed the 'Ajami at this 
point, and his voice thundered through the still- 
ness of the night, for the dervishes had vanished 
and only the sacred yellow Hght continued to 
illuminate the abode clearer than the brightest 
July day. 

** * Adam was as tall as a palm tree and Eve 
was very beautiful,' continued my teacher. * But 
they ate of the forbidden fruit and were put down 
on earth. ^ As the sons of Adam multiply and die 
the righteous go back to Paradise, where, as a 
recompense, Allah has commanded that the most 
delicious fruits shall be presented to them on a 
silver plate by an angel. None but good believers 
and such as have observed the Koran and fasted 
in Ramadan will receive the fruit. The Moslem 
who opens it sees a splendid Houri come out. 
These Houris are of four different colours, the 
sacred colours of Islam : the first white, the 
second green, the third yellow, and the fourth red. 
Their bodies are composed of saffron, musk, amber 
and incense ; and should they spit on the ground 
the whole place will smell of musk. They have no 
veils and show their black eyebrows ; they rest 
under pearl-embroidered tents, containing seventy 

1 Job i. 7. * Sura vii. 178. ' Sura vii. 23. 



HIGH PLACES 81 

couches of rubies, each with seventy mattresses, 
on which seventy slaves attend them, with their 
maids, each holding a new suit of light transparent 
clothes for a change ; and they are transparent 
unto the bones. 

" * But in spite of all heavenly delights, those 
children of Allah came to the earth and took wives 
from the sons of Adam, ^ and though they had been 
taught Allah's laws and reUgion, they soon followed 
the teachings of the Jan and the Shairim, 
who led them to evil. ^ They worshipped Baal 
and Ashteroth, and put up idols on the high 
mountains, upon the hills, and under every green 
tree.^ Of course, my abode here in Beit-Mahsir 
is like the abodes of all the Just men and Welies 
spread all over Palestine ; we have simply taken 
the places of the older gods. For, in spite of the 
efforts of the lawgivers to break down the altars, 
destroy the pillars and burn the groves, mankind 
has always liked these retired places best and come 
back to them. Now, when they continued, 
Allah sent the Torah by Moses. To him be 
prayers and peace ! But without success. The 
Jews continued in the old ways and worshipped 
the gods whom their forefathers had worshipped. 
Once he changed them into monkeys for having 
worked on a sabbath on the shores of the Red 
Sea. But still they continued in their idolatrous 

1 Genesis vii. 2. 2 Leviticus xvii. 7. 

' Deuteronomy xii. 2. 



82 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

ways. After showing patience for 500 years 
He found them worshipping Shairim.^ So Allah 
sent the Gospel (Ingile) by 'Esa, the son of Mary. 
Prayer and peace be to him. But the Christians 
again set up idols in their temples and worshipped 
in the high places. Finally, the Prophet — to him 
be prayers and peace ! — came and received the 
Koran from the heavenly table. ^ But still the 
people beheved that they (the Jan) could be wor- 
shipped and still they continue to believe in their 
power — Christians, Jews, and Moslems alike. 

" ' The Jan were submitted to Solomon. Peace 
be to him ! They were ordered by Allah to work 
for him, and how could he have built the temple, 
the pillars, the molten sea and his palaces without 
their aid ? ^ When Solomon was overlooking 
his Jan workers, now and then one would disobey, 
and immediately he was sent to hell. They were 
so frightened by this severity that when 'Ozrael 
the Angel of Death, cut short Solomon's days, 
as he was sitting leaning on his stick, he remained 
for forty years in the position of an overseer 
though dead, and had not a worm gnawed the 
stick, causing the dead king to fall down, they 
would never have known what had happened and 
would have continued their work.* 

" * When *Esa was on earth (to him be prayers 

1 I. Chronicles, xi. 15. ^ Sura vii. 1. 
8 Sura xxxiv. 12. I. Kings vii. 13-22. 
* Sura xxxiv. 13. 



JAN CONVERTS 83 

and peace !) the Jan, in a group of seven, as they 
always like to be, took possession of Mary Mag- 
dalene and were driven out by him. ^ Of course, 
some were converted to Judaism, others to Chris- 
tianity, and when the Prophet (to whom be peace !) 
was reading the Koran at daybreak under a palm- 
tree, seven Jewish Jan listened and were so 
impressed that they rose and were converted to 
Islam 2 and continued to preach and make con- 
verts among their sectarians, so that many 
became Moslems. ^ And whenever Mohammed 
prayed these Jan would respectfully arise and 
Hsten in awe. They first lived in Arabia and 
Nineveh, but by and by approached and followed 
in the traces of mankind. They tried to enter 
Paradise again, but were repelled by meteors, 
which we still see. 

" ' Happily there are innumerable good angels, 
of whom 70,000 pray daily in the celestial Kaaba. 
They have brought down to Mecca the model of 
an earthly Kaaba, which was built by Jan by 
divine order. Every man has his guardian angels : 
two by day and two by night, who write down 
every deed and carry it, alternately, to the throne 
of Allah, awaiting Judgment Day. Every 
beUever looks at his angels at the end of his 
prayers ; he turns his head right and left, for then 
they are on his shoulders. 

" ' In his divine providence. He has allowed 

1 Luke viii. 2. » Sura xlvi. 28. » Sura Ixxii. 13. 



84 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

the different spirits to take different forms to 
accomplish their various functions ; and as they 
generally live in caves and all places underground 
where the sons of Adam live, they very often share 
not only human joy and sorrow but also partake 
of human food and on solemn occasions use human 
garments. For instance, should the imprudent, 
when sowing or reaping, threshing or carrying 
things home, pouring out or preparing bread, 
laying it in the oven or putting it before the family, 
drinking or lying down to sleep, rising or washing, 
starting from home, dressing or undressing, omit 
to say Bism Illah (In the name of Allah), the 
ever-ready Jan have a good opportunity and 
carry away their share to feast on it. And good 
times they have, for there are many wicked 
people among the three churches here in the land. 
Certainly the Jan make no difference between 
them. Every denomination has to use its own for- 
mula — they cannot approach a Jew who has 
Adonai in mind, nor a Christian who never forgets 
^' the name of the cross." They seem to take 
pleasure in teasing imprudent behevers, but will 
not trouble with freethinkers. 

" ' As on earth, there are men and women 
among the Jan, and sometimes they intermarry 
with humans. Does not the Torah say that they 
came to marry ? ^ Female Jan sometimes fall 
in love with humans, and are very jealous and 

* Genesis vi. 2. 



HAUNTED SITES 85 

strike them^ if they smile at other women, so that 
these men have the " earth's sickness." ^ When 
living in human habitations they prefer the hearth 
and the threshold ; therefore, humans never step 
on the threshold on entering a room, and never 
pour water on the hearth, which would be followed 
by immediate punishment, as the Jan will not 
suffer their dweUing -place to be soiled. They 
have always Hved there. Some are behevers, ^ 
and as you do not know them you had better 
never interfere with them. This was always 
known. -Did not the old lawgiver Moses (to 
him be peace !) forbid his people to revile the 
Alhim, which are the same as the Jan. ^ 

" * Wherever Nature has been most wonderful 
the Jan will certainly be found. Springs of 
water, waterfalls, rivers, wells, deserts and curious 
rocks, cliffs and seas, caverns and mountain tops 
are all Maskoon (inhabited by Jan). They are 
able to take whatever form they please. Thus, 
in Tiberias, legions of Jan warm the hot springs 
and are vigilant not to miss the imprudent intruder 
if he forgets his duty. But, curious to say, there 
no " Bismillah " is necessary. In olden days 
on Mount Sinai it was forbidden to take the name 
of Jehovah in vain, * but the command becoming 
useless, as the people continued in their evil ways, 
they all of them now, in synagogues, mosques or 

1 Epilepsy. ^ Sura Ixxii. 14. 

^ Exodus xxii. 28. * Exodus xx. 7. 



86 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

churches, use and abuse it. But Allah is merciful 
and of great kindness. 

" * The precious metals, mines and treasures 
are specially guarded by Guardian Spirits or 
Rasads. All take forms : here as a ram butting, 
there as a camel or a foal, again as an old Sheikh 
or a young bride. 

** ' Away from high roads and human habi- 
tations, on sandy wastes and rocky regions there 
is the Ghul, which, as its name indicates, is 
insatiable and often devours women and children. 
Most of them have names of animals and are 
called dog, cat, wolf, fowl, lion, ram, camel, raven, 
eagle, serpent and so forth ; therefore you must 
never say to a child " I will give you to the wolf " 
or "Raven, come and take it," as they obey to 
the letter. The Ghul will certainly appear in the 
form of a wolf or that of a raven and seize what, 
thoughtlessly, he was bidden to take away. 

** * As Paradise has hving beings, water, food 
and trees, animals have not been altogether 
excluded. But only such as have been of use to 
Holy Men during their sojourn on earth have 
received admission and can be seen there. First 
of all there is the ram, which was sacrificed by 
Abraham on Moriah, feeding in the meadows, as 
well as the lamb of Ishmael, the cow which Moses 
presented to the Israehtes, ^ the whale which 
swallowed Jonah, the ant which Solomon set 

* Numbers xix. 2. 



ANIMALS IN PARADISE 



87 



forth as an example, ^ the hoopoe which was in the 
temple at Jerusalem, the ass which carried Jesus 
to Jerusalem on Palm-Sunday, the horse which 
carried EUjah to heaven, and which was the 
same as El Khadr (St. George) used to fight the 
dragon, the dog which watched at the entrance 
to the cave of the seven sleepers, the camel which 
carried away Mohammed in the Hegira from 
Mecca, and finally the bees which have healing 
virtues in their honey.' ^ 

" The 'Ajami now paused a moment to see 
what effect his words had had upon me. Being 
spiritualised, I could read his thoughts, and knew 
that he would now take me through the air and 
under the ground, to shrines and sanctuaries, and 
show me every spot in the length and breadth of 
the land. On my forehead he set an amulet of 
paper on which was written, * We gave Solomon 
power over the tempest; it blew morning and 
evening,' 3 and, taking me up on his shoulders, 
left the Makam. 

" In less time than it takes to tell you, we were 
worshipping in the Beit el Makdas, the Holy of 
Holies in Jerusalem, where we saw myriads of 
spirits at their devotions. We flew to the Dead 
Sea. The Jan were there, dancing and making 
merry as in Lot's days. Suddenly I found myself 
on Mount Carmel, where the wicked spirits of the 



* Proverbs vi. 6. 
' Sura xxxiv. 11. 



2 Sura xvi. 70. 



88 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

prophets of Baal were still delighting in the wor- 
ship of that god. Then we came to the borders of 
Egypt, south of Gaza ; — a country overflowing 
with Jan, who become more numerous once 
you are out of the Holy Land. It was there that I 
noticed how many Jan followed the humans, just 
as though they were their shadows, with their 
feet stuck to their feet and their heads below the 
earth. We saw them sorrowing at funerals, 
rejoicing at weddings, and playing mischievous 
tricks, especially among the young people. Pass- 
ing a number of cemeteries, I saw old and young 
men and women spirits roaming about on the 
graves. 'Ajami put his finger to his mouth and 
said in a whisper, * Speak not a word should you 
see departed friends, for they are waiting here for 
Judgment Day and would be only too glad to 
take any human to their miserable company.' 
We could see Christians, Jews and Moslems, 
living in Ramleh, pass along the road and never 
turn round to look, or say a word ; they knew 
that on Thursday nights ghosts were more lively 
there, and that a harsh word or mockery at the 
souls would result in their being snatched away by 
them. Ah ! yes, I have seen the green-mantled 
Wehes on the green heights, the white-bearded, 
hook-nosed prophets in Hebron and Safed, and the 
cross-marked armoured knights, all vigilant guar- 
dians of the places in which they were buried 
centuries ago. And, side by side, were horned 



CEMETERIES ^ 89 

monsters, which I knew to be Baals, all appearing 
and disappearing at will, and I wished in my heart 
I had been at home with my wife and children. 
But the 'Ajami thought I had not yet seen enough, 
so he set me down on the walls of the pool of 
Mamilla,^ where I could overlook the vast ceme- 
teries belonging to departed Moslems. There 
also was Zion with its Christian tombs of every 
denomination, and, possessing the power to see 
through the slopes to the Mount of Olives, my 
eyes fell on slabs without number in Hebrew which 
told me that they covered the Jews waiting around 
the Sanctuary for the sound of the trumpet to 
arise and be judged by Mohammed. 

" Whenever I had a wish the 'Ajami knew it. 
Having had no explanation about * that which 
divides a woman from her husband,' he once more 
carried me to the Moslem quarter, above the 
Damascus Gate, and showed me ugly female 
spirits accompanying pregnant women and newly 
married damsels. ' That is the Kariny,' ^ said 

^ The upper pool of Gihon. 

2 Perhaps " Kariny," {'\r^^ ), is derived from the word 
Kara, " to hate." The " Kari-Chang " is a Chinese law of 
abstinence and devotion, containing twenty-seven articles. 
During this kind of Lent season, strictly observed in Formosa, 
no serious transactions are allowed, such as building, beginning 
an enterprise, selling hides, sowing, manufacturing arms, marrying 
or having intercourse with women, giving names to the new-born, 
or going on a journey. The law had its origin in an ugly Formosan 
who, mocked by his people, prayed to be removed to heaven, 
where he became a divinity. Transgressors of the law were 
severely punished. (Chinese myth.) The " Carines " M^ere women 
of Caria who were hired to mourn the dead. (Greek legend.) 



90 IHE IMMOVABLE EAST 

the 'Ajami. * She puts hatred between man and 
wife ; she makes women miscarry, or barren ; 
she makes men impotent and turns their minds 
towards other women, or women towards other 
men.' I trembled, for I knew that this must be 
the loathsome Kariny mentioned in the Koran 
and already known to Solomon, who taught people 
to wear amulets to hinder her detestable work. 

" Seeing my fear, the 'Ajami hurried me through 
space and then below the earth, where Jan were 
gathered in bathing establishments, oil-mills and 
cemeteries, — in short, in all those pubHc places 
where Jan gather most freely. We went to 
sanctuaries and saw the presiding saint assuming 
any form he hked. In Dair esh Sheikh he was a 
swarm of bees defending his abode ; at another 
holy spot was a mounted horseman with a flowing 
beard, a green mantle and a spear in his hand. 
We saw the guardians (Rasads) taking the most 
fantastic forms and humans of all denominations 
respect them ; then thousands of years passed by 
and the same religious forms in the very same 
places reappeared. The worshippers spoke of 
Baal, El, and Allah, — that was the only change, 
and this change was so slight that they hardly 
noticed the difference from one generation to 
another. Then I knew that I was in the Immov- 
able East and was glad to have been born to 
live and die in my pure Arabic creed and language. 

"Above and below the earth we travelled; 




^ 

« 

o 






o 
o 



PHANTOMS 91 

into churches, mosques, synagogues, and ruined 
sanctuaries we entered. Then we flew back to 
Zion. There, as in Mamilla, down in Kedron, 
and on the slopes of the Mount of OHves, myriads 
of phantoms and spirits of all forms moved about. 
Jebusites and Amorites, Hebrews of pre-Baby- 
lonian days, Machabees, Greeks, Romans, Moslems, 
Franks, and Palestine Christians were all con- 
gregated there, anxiously waiting, with eyes turned 
towards the East, for the Day to come. 

" Once more the 'Ajami took me up and set 
me down, — this time on the minaret of Naby 
Daoud. The tomb of David was the best obser- 
vatory he could have chosen. From this holy 
elevation, sacred to all human beings, he again 
pointed to the East. * The night is far spent,' he 
said. ' Light will come very soon ! Put away 
your books and once more follow the ways of 
Allah, unless you would partake of the fate of 
those you will presently see.' He spoke in 
such a solemn tone that I could not resist the 
temptation to look round. But my guide had 
disappeared. 

" Suddenly sulphurous fumes and the odour of 
bitumen filled the air, just as if the submarine 
volcanoes of the Sea of Lot (the Dead Sea) were 
in action. The earth trembled. Iblis with his 
legions of Shaiateen (Demons), clothed in fire and 
with fiery hooks in their hands, trooped from the 
desert of Judah, dancing and whirling round and 



92 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

round, — ^whistling and shrieking as they approached. 
Small, hairy Shairim (satyrs) hopped around them, 
pulling each other's ears, hair and tails, with 
indecent demeanour. The troglodyte Ghules, per- 
fectly globular, rolled up the hills on the long 
spikes which surrounded their bodies, hedgehog 
fashion. Their glowing red eyes, formed of bright 
glow-worms, sent forth piercing looks, whilst 
in their huge stomachs the half-decayed bodies of 
devoured children could be seen rolling from one 
side to the other. Towering Mareds, ^ with evil 
looks, passed by me with rhythmic paces, now 
blowing up their ethereal bodies until they were 
miles in height and had become as thin as lofty 
palms, now settling down and becoming like flat 
wheels laid on their axes, producing the while 
the queerest and most terrifying sounds. My 
blood stood still. Yet the terrible procession 
continued as noisy as a great cavalry charge. 
Bulls rushed forth, blowing fire from their nostrils ; 
camels, foaming at the mouth with rage, shot 
forth their tongues until they were several yards in 
length ; black horses with steel hoofs galloped 
wildly over the flint pavement, sending sparks 
hke meteors flying about the graves, and I knew 
that these were disguised Rasads (guardians). 
With hideous grimaces, monkey-like Krad and 
Afarid climbed trees, cemetery walls and tombs, 
peeped into ossuaries, dragged forth skulls and 

* Sura xxxvii. 7. 



RESURRECTION SCENES 93 

limbs, and hurled them at each other with satyric 
laughter. In the rear came the Jan, grimacing at 
each other, yelHng and howling, now approaching 
and fixing their eyes upon me, now withdrawing 
with distorted dances. How I wished, as I 
felt their hot breath upon my face, that I was 
again in my native village ! I thought my last 
moment had come, and that there was no more 
time to repent. For behold ! on the walls of 
Zion, with a shining sword in his hand, stood 
'Ozrael, the Angel of Death, to cut short my days. 
Alas ! I concluded, it is my fate to go down to 
Hell-fire. 

" But suddenly the scene changed : the mon- 
sters and hideous apparitions left the Sacred 
elevation and were replaced by new forms which 
poured in by myriads from the north, south, east 
and west. They came and gathered as it were for 
Judgment on the platform of the holy rock. Their 
odour was so old, so mouldy, that I knew at once 
they had been lying in the earth many thousands 
of years, long before our oldest writers on the 
Canaanites and Themudians,' long before Abraham 
and Ishmael. From Wad en Nar and Er Rahib 
a procession of Baal- worshipping horned forms 
came, bearing with them an odour of burning 
flesh, the result of their Moloch abominations ; 
from Kedron trooped milhons of beings each with a 
triangle and four strange letters on his or her fore- 
head ; and from all the battlefields, near and far, 

8— (2131) 



94 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

there marched past, in rank and file, soldiers 
marked with crescents and crosses. Everywhere 
gravestones were upheaving. The Greek ossuary 
on Zion let out its confused cross-marked forms ; 
the rock-tombs of Hinnom, the most heterocHtic 
figures, for the strangers arriving at El Kuds had 
been buried in the foreigners' graves ; the Well of 
Souls (the Bir el-Arwah) opened wide its mouth 
beneath the Sakhra and the souls of departed 
believers stepped out with joyous countenance, 
for they knew that Mohammed had promised to 
save his own nation ; the tombs of the Prophets, 
of the Judges, and of the Kings sent forth 
their contingents in solemn procession to be 
judged. 

" This El Kuds is a veritable city of tombs 
and dead, thought I, ready to give up the ghost 
to 'Ozrael. If I have time to repent, shall I be 
amongst the chosen ? Verily I am of the Ummy 
(nation of the Prophet). 

" At that moment a loud roaring all over the 
universe was heard. It came from the south. 
My flesh began to creep as I heard its voice say, 
* The people have not believed our teachings.' ^ 
The monster which called out with this awful 
voice was more fearful to behold than the apocalyp- 
tical * red dragon with seven heads and ten horns 
and seven crowns, whose tail drew the third part 

* Inn in-Naas kaanu biayatina la youquanun — Sura xxvii. 
84. 




The American Colony Photographers, Jerusalem 



Dome of the Ascension 



THE ANGEL GABRIEL 95 

of the stars, dragging them to earth.' ^ This 
one came from Mecca and was covered all over 
with long stiff hair and feathers. It possessed 
two wings and was as brown as a bear. The half 
of its body was hke a cat, its breast was that of a 
lion, its tail that of an enormous fat-tailed ram, 
and its head that of a bull. It had the eyes of a 
pig, the ears of an elephant, the horns of a stag, 
and an ostrich's neck. Its broad feet were hke a 
camel's, and as it thundered over Jerusalem it 
crushed the unbeHevers with its immense hoofs. 
There was a general flight towards Siloam and the 
desert in the east, towards Birket es-Sultan,^ 
and the valley of Hinnom, in the west, where 
centuries ago the ancestors of the Hebrews offered 
human and other sacrifices to Moloch. Standing 
on my observatory, I was paralysed with fear. 
Oh ! how I wished I had never bought those 
forbidden books ! 

" As the wish passed through my mind, a faint 
streak of light above the Mount of OUves announced 
the arrival of the Bright Spirit. ' Aouzi bi 
Rab il fallaq ' ^ I exclaimed. The Angel Gabriel, 
with his yellow turban, filled the sky and his 
sword brought forth the dawn. I passed my 
hand through my beard, as is commanded when 
daylight is announced, and with a loud voice I 
cried, ' Eshhad ino la Illaha ill Allah wa 

* Revelations xii. 3-4. * -phe lower pool of Gihon. 

• " My protection is in the Lord of the Dawn." Sura cxiii. 1 . 



96 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Muhammad Rasul Allah ! ' ^ scanning every 
syllable and moaning in my anguish. 

" And lo and behold ! I saw the fir-trees above 
the ' Aj ami's abode moving slightly to and fro as, 
in the first streaks of dayhght, the morning breeze 
passed through the branches and proclaimed the 
name of Allah. Whereupon I repeated my con- 
fession of faith, proclaiming his glory at Dawn 
of Day. 2 I realised, then, that I had never moved. 
I was still sitting on the same spot above Beit- 
Mahsir. Yet my spirit had seen the world and 
what is in and above it all over the Holy Land. 
And so I promised to leave magic and try, by 
better ways and reading the Koran, to gain eternal 
life." 



The sun was fast dechning and about to plunge 
in the Mediterranean when Ehmad Imhamad 
came to the end of the story of his vision, and as 
the last fierce rays struck the Mountains of Judah 
they seemed to be ahve with the spirits he had 
evoked. I rose and thanked him. 

" Ehmad Imhamad," said I. '* You have 
done a better day's work than you would have 
done by necromancing. Come and let us have 
another talk in Jaffa very soon." 

1 " I witness that there is but one God, Allah, and that 
Mohammed is his Apostle." 

2 Sura XX. 130. 



IN SHA- ALLAH! 97 

'' In Sha- Allah !— If Allah wills ! " I heard him 
say as I mounted my mare. 

Then I turned my face homewards, to arrive 
after darkness and put down these notes as faith- 
fully as possible for the benefit of those occidental 
readers who do not fully comprehend oriental 
knowledge and belief. 



V 

THE GARDENS OF SOLOMON 
I 

" I made me great works ; I builded me houses ; I planted me 
vineyards ; I made me gardens and parks, and I planted trees 
in them of all kinds of fruit : I made me pools of water, to water 
therefrom the forest where trees were reared." 

ECCLESIASTES ii. 4-6. 

Whenever the month of Rabee comes and the 
subtle influence of the Spring begins to make 
itself felt, I hear the call of the Orient. A thou- 
sand times a day the sweet summons drags me 
from mundane occupations and carries me back 
to the scenes of my youth. It comes to me — 
clear and irresistible — from a multitude of sources ; 
it makes its welcome appeal through all the 
avenues of sense. The sight or scent of a flower 
on one of the slopes above my Riviera home, the 
configuration of a hill or the geological nature of 
the soil, the blue expanse of the Mediterranean 
as I turn to rest on my peregrinations towards the 
Maritime Alps, the taste of a fruit, or sometimes 
the very breath of the air, are all allurements, to 
set the stream of reminiscence flowing and make 
me yearn for the East. How my thoughts fly 
back, and how I feel inclined to cry, with Matthew 
Arnold : — 

" Quick, thy tablets, Memory ! " 

In a moment — and on those occasions all physical 

98 



HAUNTS OF YOUTH 99 

ties to earth seem to be severed — I am back, once 
more, on Mount Hermon, tracing the three springs 
of the Jordan and paying homage to the magni- 
ficent snowy peak of Djebel-esh-Sheikh.^ Once 
more, the valley of El Ghor and the Mountains of 
Moab are spread out before me. Once more, I 
am wandering along the Beda win-infested shores 
of the Dead Sea, or swimming with my brother 
to the island which has since disappeared beneath 
its bitter waters. ^ Mountains and valleys, rivers 
and seas, ruins and shrines, — all the old familiar 
places of the land of my birth pass, one by one, like 
moving pictures, during those spring-time dreams. 
There is always, however, one vision that pre- 
dominates when Rabee stirs the blood. It is that 
of Uitas,^ a little village within a few miles of 

* " The chief of mountains," as the Arabs call it. 

* The disappearance of this little island, which was situated 
about half a mile from the shore at the northern end, is a proof 
of the interesting fact that the Dead Sea is increasing in size. 
The maps of the Palestine Exploration Fund of twenty years ago 
clearly indicated it, and it is also shown in a photograph taken 
about 1882. 

' Referring to Urtas, Edward Robinson writes {Biblical 
Researches in Palestine, Vol. II, pp. 168) : " The place is still 
inhabited, though the houses are in ruins, — ^the people dwelling 
in caverns among the rocks of the steep declivity. Here are 
manifest traces of a site of some antiquity, — ^the foundation of a 
square tower, a low thick wall of large squared stones, rocks hewn 
and scarped, and the like. If we are to look anywhere in this 
quarter for Etam, which was decorated by Solomon with gardens 
and streams of water, and fortified by Rehoboam along with 
Bethlehem and Tekoa, and whence, too, according to the Rabbins, 
water was carried by an aqueduct to Jerusalem, I know of no 
spot so probable as this spot." 

With all due deference to this authority, I am of the opinion 
that Robinson was misled by the ruins of a fortress just above the 



100 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Bethlehem, — a seemingly dry and barren spot, 
but one, in reaHty, whose loose grey calcarious 
gravel makes it pre-eminently suitable for the 
production of fine fruit. And within its narrow 
glen, enclosed to right and left by rugged hill- 
slopes, and watered by an ever-running brook, the 
most luscious apricots, peaches, pears, figs, and 
other kinds of fruit were indeed grown, when, as a 
youth, I lived with my brothers in the flat-roofed, 
fortress-like house which stood on the eminence 
above our plantations. Those fruit trees of Urtas, 
gay with innumerable blossoms or weighed down 
by fruit fit for the tables of kings and princes, — 
the bright blue sky seen through the branches as I. 
lay beneath them dreaming, — the singing of the 
birds, — the murmur of the brook, — and the fragrant 
odour of the plants on which our bees found so 
plentiful a harvest^ made up a never-to-be-for- 
gotten picture. When told that this was the site 
of the Gardens of Solomon, who can wonder that I 
accepted the statement as something more than 
an old wife's tale ? Who can wonder that I read 

Urtas spring, and that Etam was really situated about a mile 
away, on the site of Khirbet el-Khokh, near 'Ain Etan and the 
lowest of the Pools of Solomon. Had the author of Biblical 
Researches in Palestine observed the remains and the spring of 
Etan he would, I think, have modified his views in favour of my 
theory, which, I may add, has been supported by more modern 
authorities. 

1 The thyme honey of Urtas is comparable to the renowned 
honey from Mount Hymettus, in Greece, and was probably well 
known in Solomon's time for its delicious aroma. See the Song of 
Solomon iv. 11, " Thy lips, my spouse, drop as the honeycomb ; 
honey and milk are under thy tongue." 




IWor^m^pevd OF SoLomn MP ^mmn^. 



"The nunrvbers tnAiczXe, J^ecf ihove. TAe/iiferrAneM^ 
2iCCorA\f\Q^ to Or/inAncc Sorveii. fE.P 

obeerv^fTons. 



LOVELY SURROUNDINGS 101 

and re-read the Song of Solomon and found in it a 
confirmation of that legend ? If the great king's 
pleasure-grounds were anywhere, where else could 
they be save in the little paradise of Urtas ? 
What other place so well accorded with the words, 
** Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. 
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and 
gone ; the flowers appear on the earth ; the time 
of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of 
the turtle is heard in our land. The fig-tree 
putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the 
tender grape give a good smell." ^ Many other 
passages of the Song of Songs seemed to me to be 
inspired by those lovely surroundings. " My 
beloved is gone down into his garden to the beds 
of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather 
Hlies ... I went down into the garden of nuts 
to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether 
the vine flourished and the pomegranates budded. 
. . . Let us get up early to the vineyards, let 
us see if the vine flourish, whether the grape 
appear, and the pomegranates bud forth . . . " ^ 
And what of Solomon's Pools, situated near the 
Saracenic castle of Kalat el-Burak, some half an 
hour's journey from our ruined village ? Could 
there be any doubt in my youthful mind, nourished 
on Maundrell, Robinson, and other writers, that 
these colossal waterworks and the hidden " sealed 

1 The Song of Solomon ii. 10-13. 

2 The Song of Solomon vi. 2, 11 ; vii. 12. 



102 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

fountain " near by were the " pools of water " 
referred to in Ecclesiastes and part of that gigantic 
system of irrigation which transformed the whole 
of the region into a veritable earthly paradise ? 
. . . No ; it was beyond dispute that there before 
me lay the gardens of the great and wise king. 

But before the days of Solomon another of my 
favourite Bible heroes had trod the sacred soil of 
Urtas. The young shepherd David, leading his 
flocks there from Bethlehem, must surely have 
been inspired by the streams and rugged land- 
scapes of my home ; and it pleased me to 
fancy that, as he played upon his Neiye, ^ he com- 
posed there his 23rd Psalm, since he speaks of 
" the Lord his Shepherd, who made him he down in 
green pastures and led him beside the still waters." ^ 
In no other place near Bethlehem do you find 
either pastures or a constant supply of fresh 
running water. Completing the picture, I could 
see him descending the picturesque but dangerous 
gorges of Adullam and, as he thus walked " through 
the valley of the shadow of death," entrusting 
himself and his sheep to the hands of God. He had 
already encountered wild animals in those solitary 
places and by courageously attacking them with 
his *' comforting " staff ^ — the Naboot of the 
Arabs, which every modem Palestine shepherd 
still carries — had killed them.* 

* See Song and Dance in the East, pp. 249-252. 
' Psalms xxiii. 1-2. ' Psalms xxiii. 4. 

* I. Samuel xvii. 34-35. 




By permission of 



The American Colony Photographers, Jerusalem 

A Shepherd 



'AIN RIMMON 103 

When David became king he had no time to 
occupy himself with the pleasures which his son 
and successor was to enjoy. But on taking 
Solomon on excursions to Urtas he must have 
called his attention to its natural advantages, for 
as soon as he succeeded to the throne the new 
sovereign chose Etam as one of his cities for 
chariots.^ Moreover, Josephus tells us that 
Solomon was particularly fond of the place because 
of its " beautiful gardens, its fine springs, and 
the extreme fertility of its soil." ^ Etam, then, 
possessed several springs — possibly three in all : 
*Ain-'Etan at the Khirbet el-Khokh, above Urtas, 
the " sealed fountain," *Ain Saleh, above Etam, 
and the *Ain Urtas — then 'Ain Rimmon.^ 

1 I Kings X. 26. 

2 Antiquities of the Jews, viii. 2, p. 340. 

3 'Ain Rimmon has never been identified by explorers, and 
Urtas has never been pointed out as corresponding to any known 
Bible locality. My reason for identifying 'Ain Rimmon with 
Urtas is based on the following passages : " Judah received Ain, 
Remmon and Ether and Ashan " (Josh. xix. 7). Evidently the 
transcriber knew nothing of the country, since he takes Ain and 
Remmon to be two difEerent places. In the parallel reference 
(I. Chron. iv. 32) a more careful scribe makes Ether into Etam, 
and, besides giving 'Ain Rimmon and Ashan, adds Tochen. Now, 
we find 'Ain Etam and 'Ain Urtas and Wad et-Tawaheen in the 
actual topography. Later, Nehemiah speaks (Neh. xi. 29) of 
the villages of Judah, and groups 'Ain Rimmon, Zoreah and 
Yarmuth, though they are far apart. But he says the children 
of Judah dwelt together from Beersheba to the valley of Hinnom 
(Neh. xi. 30), an extensive country. Rimmon means Pome- 
granates, and in his Song, Solomon speaks of his " Fardas 
Rumaneem " (Song of Songs iv. 13), " the pomegranate gardens." 
And last but not least the prophet Zechariah, in his vision, 
foreseeing a time when the land round Jerusalem should be 
made flat for the judgment of the nations says : " All the land 
shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon, south of 



104 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

But you must imagine Etam, in Solomon's 
days, as something more than a place of mere 
rustic beauty. From the many nations which 
surrounded his kingdom, the king selected wives 
and for every princess of the blood he built a 
palace.* These houses he placed here and there, 
so as not to profane Jehovah's temple at Jeru- 
salem. 2 His Moabite wife dwelt on the Mount of 
Olives ; his Egyptian spouse was at Gezer ; ^ 
whilst his Edomite princess, on account of the 
nearness of her native country, must have been at 
Etam, to which Solomon, with a brilliant retinue, 
rode out every morning. Josephus gives a very 
picturesque description of these rides to Etam. 
" Thus King Solomon," he writes, " was able 
to add four hundred chariots to the thousand 
chariots and twenty thousand horses which he 
ordinarily kept. And the horses which they sent 
him were not only particularly fine — they sur- 
passed all others in swiftness. Those who rode 
them made their beauty still more apparent ; 
for they were young men of very tall stature, 
clothed in Tyrian purple, armed with quivers, and 
with long hair covered with gold dust, which, when 
the rays of the sun struck them, made their heads 

Jerusalem " (Zech. xiv. 8-10). Now, Geba is as far north from 
Jerusalem as Urtas (Rimmon) is south of that place, making a 
very symmetrical plan which fits in suitably with the vision. 
See my communication to the Quarterly Statement of the P.E.F., 
October, 1912, pp. 209-211. 

1 I Kings, xi. 8. 

2 II. Chronicles viii. 11. » I. Kings ix. 16-17. 



WATER CONDUITS 105 

ablaze with light. This magnificent retinue 
accompanied the king every morning when, 
according to custom, he left the town, seated in a 
superb chariot and clothed in white, to go to a 
country house near Jerusalem called Etam . . ." ' 

On the death of Solomon, the Israelites revolted, 
and the Edomites in the south made so many 
incursions that his son Rehoboam was obliged 
to fortify the frontier towns, including Bethlehem, 
Etam, and Tekoa, ^and place garrisons there. The 
gardens of Etam remained royal property as long 
as the kingdom of Judah lasted. 

During the time of anarchy which followed the 
deportation of the princes and notables, and until 
Herod the Great came to the throne, the nation 
was occupied in defending itself, sometimes against 
the governors, sometimes against foreigners in 
general. Herod himself, a foreigner and an 
Edomite, had a predilection for the favoured 
district of Urtas and, after his victory over the 
Jews, in the neighbourhood of the Frank Moun- 
tain,^ built a palace near by. As there was 
nothing but rainwater to be obtained near his 
castle, and as rain is very rare in this part of the 
Desert of Judah, he had the water from the 
important spring of El Arroub brought by means 

1 Antiquities of the Jews, viii. 2, p. 340. 

2 II. Chronicles xi. 6. 

3 So called since 1453, when Felix Fabri relates that the Franks, 
after the battle of Hattin, withdrew there and found suf&cient 
water to grow corn and vegetables, thanks to which they withstood 
a siege of at least a year. 



106 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

of a conduit and an extensive system of reservoirs 
to Solomon's Pools. This conduit was so big 
that a horse could easily pass through it. It 
became smaller as it advanced, but still was 
sufficiently large to enable workmen to stand 
upright in it when undertaking repairs. It passed 
by way of the Wady el-Biar, or Valley of the Wells, 
and skirted the flank of the mountain of Batn-el- 
Ekra* and Mough-arid-Khahd, north of Urtas, 
where the surplus water flowed into a large number 
of reservoirs which stretched as far as the Urtas 
spring. The solidly cemented remains of a portion 
of these gigantic works are still to be seen to-day 
on our family property at Urtas. After the Valley 
of Urtas, properly so called, comes the Valley of 
the MiUs, Wad et-Tawaheen, and there again are 
other remains which clearly formed part of 
Herod's extensive system of irrigation, the surplus 
water from which was probably used for the 
turning of numerous mills. 

After Herod's death his successors were unable, 
for a multitude of reasons, principally lack of 
resources and incessant troubles with their enemies 
inside the kingdom and the Romans coming from 
without, to occupy themselves with Etam, so that 
the paradise of Urtas quickly fell into ruins. The 
remains of a marble palace, discovered there about 
1865 by Mr. Meshullam, a colonist who followed 
in my father's footsteps, and known to the Arabs 
as El Hammam — the Bath — led some to suppose 



HORTUS CONCLUSUS 107 

that the Emmaus of the Gospel ^ was situated at 
Urtas. But baths, or Emmaus, abound in Pales- 
tine. There are two to the north-west of 
Jerusalem, where the Emmaus celebrated for the 
appearance of Jesus to two of his disciples after 
his death has already been placed. Another is 
at the warm baths of Tiberias ; whilst a fourth 
and a fifth are at Calirrhoe and Arnon, to the 
east of the Dead Sea, where Herod, a few days 
before his death, sought relief from his sufferings. 

II 

Until the arrival of Tancred and the hundred 
knights who came to the rescue of the Church of 
the Nativity at Bethlehem — that is, before the 
taking of Jerusalem — the gardens of Urtas 
remained buried in oblivion. It was then that 
the name " Hortus Conclusus " was given to the 
place by the monks of Bethlehem, — a name which 
has been preserved in their archives until now.^ 

We possess no exact information regarding the 
history of Urtas during the Christian occupation 
from 1099 to 1187, but the remains of Deir el 
Banat, or the Nuns' Convent, a few kilometres 
above the village, near the Wady el Biar, and the 

1 St. Luke xxiv. 13. 

2 It is not for me to attempt to decide whether the name 
Urtas is a corruption of Hortus, or vice versd. But I may remind 
my readers how notoriously careless the Crusaders were in the 
translation and pronunciation of local names. • The question is 
a dif&cult one to settle, and is further complicated by the fact 
that there is another tjrtas near Antioch which has certainly 
nothing to do with Hortus, a garden. 



108 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

plan of which is fairly clearly indicated, show that 
the building was placed under the protection of 
St. Jean d'Acre or the Templars. A stone, 
marked with a cross, which I saw there about 
1870, leaves no doubt in my mind on that point. 

The kings of Jerusalem probably possessed the 
privilege of including Wady Urtas in their pos- 
sessions, but the cultivation of its fertile soil, 
recommenced in 1099, must have been suddenly 
stopped when, after the Battle of Hattin, in 1 187, 
the last Christian king of Jerusalem, Guy of 
Lusignan, fell into the power of Saladin. Urtas 
was captured by the Saracens on September 5th, 
1187. In Hugues Platon's words, " Le jor 
qu'Escalone fu perdue, li rendi Ton tous les 
Chastiaus qui environ etoient ." During the Sultan's 
pourparlers for the possession of Jerusalem and 
the siege, which lasted but a fortnight, all the 
churches and convents in the neighbourhood were 
destroyed by the invaders. Deir el Banat and the 
Church of the Garden fell at the end of September. 
For more than a century had the sound of bells ^ 
been heard in the district, and the destruction 
was so complete that almost every trace of the 
church, which I beUeve was situated near the 
centre of the present village, disappeared. 

During that period in the history of Palestine 

^ More than seven centuries elapsed before Christian bells 
were once more sounded. In 1894 the Convent of St. Mary of 
the Garden was built at Urtas. 



A TINY MOSQUE OF OMAR 109 

which is known as " the great blank "-^that is 
from the fall of Jerusalem to the re-introduc- 
tion of Christian missions into the Holy Land 
— the story of Urtas is very incomplete. A few 
interesting fragments have, however, come down 
to us. 

Between 1573 and 1575 the valley was visited 
by a distinguished botanist, Dr. Leonardus 
Rauwolffus, who, enumerating the most remark- 
able plants, " in horto Salomonis prope Bethlee- 
mam," includes the pomegranate, the orange and 
the fig. Oranges are no longer grown there, or 
anywhere in Judah, except at the village of 
Tanour, near Beit- ^E tab. 

Because of the conduit which led the water 
from Solomon's Pools and the springs 'Ain Etan 
and 'Ain Saleh to the Mosque of Jerusalem, the 
inhabitants of the village were exempted from 
taxes during the whole of the domination of the 
Arab sultans. The Mosque of Urtas was itself 
dedicated to the same Khalif Omar Ibn Khattab 
as the one in the Holy City. 

The chiefs of the village, exonerated from all 
burdens, possessed not only a certain independence 
but even enjoyed the right of distributing justice 
to neighbouring villages and tribes, — a right which 
they abused to such an extent that at last a 
revolution was provoked, and they were over- 
thrown. Nevertheless, under their authority 
Urtas again prospered. These kinglets forced a 

»— (2131) 



110 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

good deal of the commerce of the district to pass 
their way ; they possessed a palace of justice, a 
large prison and a gibbet for recalcitrant ones. 
The Mosque was situated in the centre of the 
village ; the palace of justice was to the east. 
Forty years ago a portion of the donjon, with the 
large iron rings to which prisoners were attached 
fixed in the walls, could still be seen. 

Conflict with the people of Seir, near Hebron, 
resulted, at the close of the Middle Ages, in the 
almost total destruction of the inhabitants of 
Urtas. Those who escaped the massacre took 
refuge with distant relatives or in the fortress 
near Solomon's Pools. The stronghold was ceded 
to them on condition that they saw to the proper 
working of the water supply and the protection 
of the road from Jerusalem to Hebron, — duties 
which they carried out in a far from satisfactory 
manner. Frequently they were guilty of pillaging 
the caravans of traders and isolated pilgrims 
who passed their way. From time to time, how- 
ever, punishment came. The Ta^amre Bedawin 
descended upon their hives and fruit gardens, so 
that at last they were obhged to transport the 
former to their hill-top fortress and definitely 
abandon the latter. 

During the long civil wars of the red and white 
factions of the Kesi and Yamani, which lasted 
throughout the eighteenth and a part of the 
nineteenth centuries, the inhabitants of Urtas 



COLONIZING URTAS 111 

carried contraband arms and ammunition first 
to the one and then to the other party. At the 
beginning of the nineteenth century and until the 
reign of Abdul Medjid they paid their taxes 
with great irregularity and were continually in 
revolt. But in 1830, on the invasion of Palestine 
by Ibrahim Pasha, they sided with Sultan 
Mahmood II and vahantly defended the territory. 

Ill 

The modern history of the Gardens of Solo- 
mon I date from 1837 when Robinson made his 
researches in Palestine. The road then passed 
in the middle of the valley " through gardens and 
watered fields," but doubtless all the water of the 
springs of Urtas was not utilised, for the author of 
Biblical Researches in Palestine continues to say, 
*' The little stream was soon absorbed in the thirsty 
gravelly soil of the valley, and the gardens ceased." 

In 1848 my father came to Urtas, bought land 
there and built a small house. But the inhabitants 
came to him only during the day to work in our 
plantations, and, for fear of the Ta'amres, retired 
as soon as night came to their fortress. Later, 
a second colonist, Mr. Meshullam, joined him, 
gave a further impetus to agriculture, and suc- 
ceeded, through sheer force of character, in intro- 
ducing relative security into the district. Other 
colonists, Americans and Germans, followed the 
example of these two pioneers, but remained only a 
short time. From 1859 to 1863 the son of my 



112 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

father's associate, Mr. Peter Meshullam, lived at 
Urtas and to a certain extent ruled over the 
locality. He attempted to introduce a special 
system of forestry, obliging owners to respect 
their forests and protecting those which belonged 
to the community. Furthermore, he himself 
dealt out justice to delinquents. Tyrannical, 
but at the same time exceedingly hospitable by 
nature, he often took what he needed for his guests 
from the first shepherd he saw. He was a pro- 
tector of widows and orphans, and any woman who 
was oppressed by her husband or relatives could 
always count on finding a safe home in one or 
other of the numerous country houses which he 
possessed at Bakoosh and Faghur in the Wady el 
Biar. Considering the jealous and vengeful nature 
of the Arabs, it is not surprising that Peter 
Meshullam at last became their victim, although 
his death is still enveloped in mystery. Whilst 
riding to Tekoa, south of Urtas, he fell at 'Ain 
Hamdeh, near the Frank Mountain, from his 
horse and broke a leg. The friends who were 
accompanying him returned to Urtas for help, 
leaving him in charge of a servant ; but on their 
return they found that he was dead and that the 
servant had disappeared.^ 

^ For an interesting account of the early life of Peter Meshullam 
and his extraordinary authority over the Bedawin, whilst yet 
only a boy of sixteen, see Van der Velde's Narrative of a Journey 
through Syria and Palestine in 1851 and 1852, vol. ii, chap. 1 
(William Blackwood and Sons, 1854). 



URTAS CHURCH 113 

In 1858 H.R.H. Prince Alfred, a son of Queen 
Victoria, visited Urtas and purchased a few acres 
of land to the south of Urtas on the side of a 
mountain called Abu Zeid. Arranged in terraces, 
the land was planted with vines and almond- 
treies ; and these remained under the superin- 
tendence of Mr. MeshuUam. For many years, in 
the summer, Mr. Finn, the British Consul in 
Jerusalem, used to come to Urtas with his family 
to spend a few days there. It was thanks to his 
aid, both financially and morally, that at least 
one kilometre of gardens were added to those 
already existing, and that the reputation of Urtas 
for fine fruit and vegetables became known far 
and wide. 

Europeans have done much to make the modem 
reputation of the Gardens of Solomon. They have 
greatly ameliorated the fruit trees ; and as to vege- 
tables, the Venetians as early as the seventeenth 
century — as words of Italian origin clearly show — 
introduced a large number which were totally 
unknown to the Arabs, such as tomatoes (in 
Arabic Banadora, from pommi d'ore), egg-apples 
(Betinjan, from melongena), peas (Bizelle, from 
picella), and haricot beans (Fasulia, from faciolla). 
As regards fruit, Urtas is specially famous for 
its pears, peaches and figs, which, during July, 
August and September, attract thousands of 
people to its picturesque orchards. 

In 1850, my father, called to other duties in 



114 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Jerusalem, and having disposed of his first house 
at the bottom of the valley to Mr. Meshullam, 
built a new one in the very centre of the village 
and on the perpendicular rock above the stream. 
The site he chose was that of the ancient church of 
the Crusaders. As the Arab builders whom he 
employed set about their work, they pulled down a 
certain wall painted with frescoes, representing 
the figures of saints. Little did my brother and I, 
as we looked on with boyish amusement, guess 
the inestimable archaeological value of those 
twelfth century remains. 

Little Urtas, which occupies the attention of 
some two hundred Moslem inhabitants, apart 
from the handful of Europeans who still make it 
their home and the inmates of the convent, built 
in 1894, has been connected with Jerusalem by a 
carriage road since 1901. Although the new 
route is much longer than the old one along which 
the camels used to stumble in the days of my 
youth, it is now possible to make an afternoon 
excursion to the Gardens and Pools of Solomon, 
where the contemplative visitor cannot fail to be 
rewarded by a host of vivid impressions and 
fruitful reflections. 



VI 

MURDER AND MARRIAGE IN URTAS 

" He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall surely be put 
to death." — Exodus xxi. 12. 

There is hardly a village in Palestine, no matter 
how tiny, but has " blood between families." 
Even when killed by accident, a man must be 
revenged. Bible, Koran and modem population 
entirely agree on this point. As a rule, the man- 
slayer must pay for the crime with his own blood, 
but should he be found unworthy, another man 
of his kindred may be taken in his place. An 
uncle or cousin — even a distant cousin — is still 
responsible, though the murderer himself is pre- 
ferable. With Oriental patience a Bedawi once 
waited forty years for his Ghareem, but seeing he 
could not find the identical murderer he killed a 
cousin. A quarter of an hour later he met the 
Ghareem himself. How he regretted that he had 
acted too hastily ! 

Urtas was no exception to this rule. When my 
father came to the village and bought land there 
in 1848 the four Hamulies, or groups of families, 
Shahini and Mashani, Rib'i and Ehseini, were in 
conflict, but lived together in the castle above 
Solomon's Pools, coming down to Urtas only during 
the day to look after their gardens, and retiring 

115 



116 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

at sunset for fear of the neighbouring Ta'amr6 
Bedawin. In the course of a few years these four 
families, regaining confidence owing to my father's 
example and the more settled state of the country, 
returned to their ruined sites. But no sooner had 
they once more settled down and the Ta'amre 
power had been destroyed by the Turkish officials 
at Jerusalem — no sooner had a kind of authority 
been set up by the Pashas than they began to 
think about their own bloody feuds again. From 
generation to generation retaliation — that Thar 
which requires that no murdered man shall 
remain unrevenged — had been practised. 

Now, at the time our story opens, a part of the 
Shahini family, tired of this eternal vendetta, had 
left the village, looking for aid and refuge at some 
Tanib in the south. ^ Returning home from 
Bethlehem one day, they met, near the ruins of 
Etam, Ibrahim et-Taiesh of the allied Mashani 
and mistook him for a member of the adverse 
Rib'i family. Suddenly, Khaleel Abu-1-Ghreir 
struck Ibrahim on the back with an axe and 
almost severed his vertebral column. " Ah ! 
Son of a dog," said he. " We have met you at 
last ! " Falling to the ground, Ibrahim, then a 
vigorous youth of about twenty, cried out to the 
men that they were mistaken and prayed them 
not to soil their hands with innocent blood, ^ 

* Cf. Deuteronomy xix. 5. 

* Exodus xxiii. 7. 



A GHASTLY SCENE 117 

and thus give rise to a new Thar. But Abdallah 
'Odey, advancing in his turn, almost scalped him 
with his sword, crying : *' Are we children, son 
of a whore ? May God have no mercy on thy 
parents, nor on thy martyrs— AUah la yerTiam 
waldache walla shahdache ! " By this time 
Hassan Ehmad had drawn his sword and, putting 
his knee on Ibrahim's breast, endeavoured to cut 
the wounded man's throat. In his anguish, 
Ibrahim protected his neck with his hands and by 
so doing only received severe wounds on his 
knuckles. But it would have gone ill with him 
had not a shepherd boy, just at that critical 
moment, been heard playing on his Neiye whilst 
climbing the rocks with his goats. The three 
murderers suddenly interrupted their ghastly 
work and fled. Ibrahim endeavoured to rise, 
held up the scalp which had fallen over his face, 
and with a loud voice cursed his retreating assail- 
ants, ^ at the same time calling for help. The 
shepherd boy, hearing the curses and calls, in turn 
called out in every direction : " Jei ya Naas jei 
—This way, oh ! people ! " The call was repeated 
from mountain to mountain, until friend and foe 
hurried towards the place where Ibrahim was 
found lying in his blood. 

As the murderers were known and the mistake 
was acknowledged, negotiations were carried on 
between the parties and a blood gratification was 

* Judges ii. 7. 



118 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

agreed upon. A reconciliation feast was held, 
garments were exchanged and it was declared 
openly that there should be no thought of any 
further revenge. 

But peace never reigned for long in Urtas. Some 
months later, one of the Ehseinis, Hassan by 
name, was captured by the Pasha's tax-gathering 
troops when they were passing near the pools of 
Solomon ; he had been denounced by a Mashani 
as having revolted against the authorities. As 
justice was very summary in those days, he was 
beheaded there and then on the road and his body 
abandoned. Brought to Urtas, the dead man 
was buried and immediately a fresh cause for Thar 
arose. But patiently the Ehseinis waited for an 
opportunity to take their revenge. 

Years passed, during which the Rib 4 and 
Mashani struggled for supremacy. Ibrahim 
et-Taiesh was now head of the latter and Salem 
er Ro^hmane chief of the former. The presents 
of Salem to the authorities in Jerusalem, with 
whom he was anxious to remain in favour, were 
more numerous and more choice than those of 
Ibrahim, and consequently he was held in greater 
consideration at the Seraiya of the Governor. 
When it was rumoured that Ibrahim had come 
into the possession of wealth, ^ he endeavoured to 
make capital out of it, but as there was no proof 
he accused the Mashani of theft, robbery, murder 

1 See Ibrahim's Wealth, pp. 127-138. 



FELLAH SHEIKH 119 

and ail kinds of crime, real or imaginary. As he 
had been previously elected responsible Mukhtar, 
this new position of mayor gave him more power, 
which Sheikh Salem used and abused until he 
had alienated the whole village with the exception 
of two or three persons. 

A perfect type of the old Fellah chief was Sheikh 
Salem, with his enormous turban, spotless white 
Thob, red silken Kaftan, red pointed shoes and 
sheepskin jacket. As a rule, he wore a pair of 
pistols in his girdle ; and being of a combative 
nature, was feared by both great and small. 
He had two wives, both foreigners. Helwy, his 
first helpmate, was from ^Ajur and was a long 
time before she had living children. He therefore 
married a dark Bedawiye of the Ta^amre, by whom 
he had three boys and a girl. The fair Helwy, like 
Rachel, was beloved and was ever jealous of her 
Durra, the dark co-wife. ^Alia the Bedawiye 
retained her dark Bedawi clothes, whilst Helwy 
imitated the more gaudy Bethlehemite women in 
her toilet. The whole family lived in one small 
room and sometimes additional guests would help 
to fill it, especially during winter nights or rainy 
days, when members of the clan would squat 
round the fire, smoking, drinking coffee and 
planning the subjugation of the Mashanis. 

To possess Bawardi^ and thus strengthen the 
party is a greater ambition with a Fellah than to 

^ Armed men. 



120 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

have wealth. So Salem looked out for a girl in 
the adverse camp suitable for his nephew 
'Ethmane, who had been unfortunate in his first 
marriage. His wife was barren. Besides, through 
ill-treating her, she had left him and gone to her 
father's house. More than one episode in her life 
reminds us of Michal, Saul's daughter, ^ especially 
her return again when 'Ethmane was more 
powerful. 2 After much searching, Salem found 
the girl he was looking for in the Shahini family. 
This family consisted of four men with their 
wives and numerous children and for the time 
being was on good terms with Salem and with 
Ibrahim. Mustapha Shahine, the head, agreed with 
Salem that the girl, Sarah, fifteen years old and 
the daughter of Khaleel Ibrahim, should be 
betrothed to ^Ethmane as soon as the sum of 
Os. 40^ was paid, in addition to the usual garments 
and marriage offerings. However, after lengthy 
negotiations, this arrangement was abandoned in 
favour of a more family one. Khaleel, besides 
having a son who was Khateeb of the village, had 
another, Sliman, who was also of an age to marry. 
So, as ^Ethmane had an unmarried sister, Sa*ada, 
the parties agreed that the bridegrooms should 
exchange sisters, each one giving presents to the 
other party as wedding garments. * 



1 I. Samuel xviii. 27 ; xix. 12-17. 2 n. Samuel iii. 13-16. 

' The Ottoman pound sterling is equivalent to 23 francs. 
« II. Kings V. 22. 



BRIDAL REJOICINGS 121 

The marriages were fixed for the seventh day 
of the month of Rabee — the spring. The first 
crescent of the moon was high in the sky when, 
by the women's Zagharit^ the festivities were 
announced. From the flat roofs of 'Ethmane's 
and SHman's houses the ululations echoed from 
one side of the mountain to the other over the deep 
depression which divided the village in two. Before 
every Zaghroot ^ the women or girls announced the 
forthcoming feasts and generosity of the bride- 
grooms, the young men firing all the while and the 
elderly men, in low voices, accompanying the 
SaTijy, that all-in-a-row dance in which ten or 
more men join. At last, after seven evenings of 
dancing, singing, coffee-drinking, smoking and 
firing, the wedding day arrived. 

Both brides, in their best clothes, ostrich feather 
crowns, and all their furniture, were set on camels 
and led to their prospective homes. As the 
village belonged to the Kase faction, the two 
women wore thick red impermeable veils over their 
faces, the first and last time, according to Fellah 
custom, they would be veiled. Sarah's camel was 
led by her cousin Jouseph, who, had he exercised 
his right, could have claimed her as his wife ; 
Sa'ada's camel was in charge of her cousin Moosa 
Salem, who could likewise have asked for her hand 
and obtained it. Following the camels were the 
brides' kin, singing and firing as they marched 

1 Ululations. 2 Singular of " Zagharit." 



122 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

along. When the two processions met, the young 
men had a mock fight, and Jouseph and Moosa 
received a Majidi each, a supposed payment for 
releasing the brides and allowing the " foreigners " 
to take them. Meanwhile, to avoid the effects 
of the Evil Eye, the heads of the families, Salem 
and Mustapha, each representing their respective 
bride and bridegroom, stepped aside and, with 
Sheikh 'Awad, the Khateeb, to give his blessing, 
secretly tied the marriage knots. Quietly the 
processions entered their new homes, where the 
camels were made to kneel down and the brides 
alighted, still covered with their veils. ^ The 
evening was spent in preparing the supper for the 
guests ; there was more singing, ululating and 
shooting ; and the young couples were then 
considered to be married. 

During the preparations for these festivities 
and for some months afterwards, everything 
seemed forgotten between the rival factions of 
Urtas, for Salem's party was now strengthened 
by many Bawardi. But a year was hardly over 
than new troubles once more broke out. Ibrahim 
continued to feign poverty, in order to escape the 
notice of the friend of Salem, Jouseph Agha, the 
captain of gendarmes. One day, however, he was 
arrested, bound together with his wife and dragged 
to prison . Whether J ouseph Agha found him inno- 
cent or whether convincing gold helped Ibrahim 

* Genesis xxiv. 64-65, 



I 

THE FATAL BLOW 123 

out is not known. Anyway, he was released 
and at once began to plan his revenge on Salem. 
Thoroughly on his guard, Salem alleged that 
cattle-lifting and burglary were being carried on 
to his detriment, and in his endeavour to convince 
the authorities that almost all the village had 
united against him, he became so disliked that, 
during his absence in Jerusalem, a plot was formed 
and the " tyrant " was condemned to death. 
As there were several roads leading to Urtas, 
armed men were placed in ambush everywhere. 
Fellahin are almost as keen as Indians, and Salem 
suspected the trap. Therefore, on his way home, 
he suddenly turned off the road, near Rachel's 
tomb, and set off in the direction of Bethlehem 
to join friends there and escape. But, unhappily 
for him, two of the plotters. Jabber and Sliman, 
followed from afar, and, seeing him take another 
way, hurried into the olive-groves, where they 
soon overtook him as he rode slowly along on his 
ass. With a well-directed blow from Jabber's 
Naboot, Salem was knocked from his animal, 
whilst Sliman, his nephew, drew his Shibriye and 
cut his throat. ^ An old Bethlehemite, an invol- 
untary witness of the murder, became dumb with 
terror and was unable to report what he had seen 
until the next day, by which time the murderers 
had escaped through the groves and reached home. 
This happened in the afternoon, so the body was 

1 Cf. II. Samuel iii. 30. 



124 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

soon discovered and the news, like wildfire, spread 
to Urtas. Less than an hour afterwards the dead 
man's people came and carried him home. Friend 
and foe joined in the procession : some to mourn, 
others secretly to rejoice. As the Khateeb of 
Urtas was suspected of being one of the plotters, 
the Khateeb of El Khudr was called in to officiate 
at the funeral service. The body was thoroughly 
washed, sewed up in a fresh shroud and carried 
to the tomb that same evening. A dead body 
must never remain unburied lest the land be 
defiled,^ and it be unprepared to answer the 
questions put by Naker and Nker, the examining 
angels in the grave, who awaken the dead man, 
inform him that he is dead, and then ask him about 
his good and bad deeds. It is for this reason that 
the Moslem graves have empty spaces and that 
slabs are put over the bodies to avoid the earth 
touching them. 

The Khaled family provided for the funeral 
supper given to as many as chose to be present 
and show their sympathy for the bereaved. Before 
this supper every man present embraced the other 
as a token of reconciliation in the presence of death, 
and the bereft were greeted with the words : 
" Salamet Rasak — Your head is safe." 

Since the introduction of Turkish laws into 
Palestine cases of murder such as this were 
ordered to be judged at the Tribunal at Jerusalem. 

1 Deuteronomy xxi. 23. 



A TERRIBLE PUNISHMENT 125 

The family council, however, thought that they 
ought to act by themselves and take their own 
vengeance so that " the shame be put away." 
Nevertheless, friends and a few remaining allies 
were inclined to put the matter in the hands of 
the authorities. The outcome was that Jabber 
and Sliman were kept in prison for several years, 
and whilst they bribed the officials to obtain better 
treatment 'Ethmane and his friends used bribes 
to keep them where they were. When the finances 
of everyone were exhausted, when their lands had 
been mortgaged and no more money was to be 
procured, both prisoners were dismissed " for 
want of further proof." 

Sliman, the throat-cutter, escaped further judg- 
ment. But what happened to him eventually ? 
Spots came out on his body, then ulcers ; a toe 
or a finger became bent and withered ; and 
finally he was declared a leper. His wife went 
home to her brother and obtained a divorce. 
His own people avoided him. Was this a punish- 
ment from Allah, as some said ; or was his malady 
hereditary, as more enlightened folk concluded ? 
His father and grandfather had been physically 
sound, with the exception of a crooked limb or so, 
and the itch — the legacy from another generation. 
However, Sliman had to join the band of miserable 
lepers at the Jaffa Gate, to live on alms given by 
merciful passers-by, until, one by one, his fingers 
and nose, ears and toes disappeared. Every 

10 — (2131) 



126 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

evening he retired to the common lazar-house 
above Job's Well, near Siloam. He had refused 
to join either Jesus Hilf, the German hospital for 
lepers, or the Leproserie de St. Lazare, both so 
well kept by devout Protestant and CathoUc 
Sisters. There he feared to be obliged to become 
a Christian and pray after Christian manners. 
So, when almost every limb was infested, when his 
voice had become extinct, and you could no longer 
tell whether his hideous face was smiHng or crying, 
he continued to decay away and was buried far 
from his home. 



VII 

IBRAHIM'S WEALTH 

I 

The Plain of Rephaim, south of Jerusalem, was 
full of waving corn. In spite of the prevailing 
heat, the harvest could hardly be expected before 
July. As usual, not a drop of rain had fallen 
since the end of April, and none could be expected 
before the end of October. 

Immense flint-stone rocks cover all the mountain 
and the declivity south-east of Rephaim. In the 
twilight these stones, scattered in all positions, 
could easily be mistaken for man or beast, and 
many a legend has been woven around their 
fantastic forms, legends which could not fail to 
pass through the mind of a young man who, in 
the early light of morning, was quietly lying in a 
sheltered and dominating position above the road. 

Owing to the youth's special point of vantage, 
the dryness of the weather, and other natural 
causes, noises from almost every direction could 
easily be detected by him from afar. Moreover, 
in the rapidly increasing light, he could see, a 
mile or two away, the silhouette of Mar EHas, 
the Greek convent of Elijah, so caUed from the 
print in the rock left by the holy body of the 

127 



128 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Prophet when he fled from Ahab and lay down to 
rest on his way to the wilderness. 

Jabber es-Saleh, the young man in question, 
was from the village of Beth-Safafa, at the en- 
trance to the Valley of the Roses, just opposite 
the place where he was sitting. From his observa- 
tory he could survey the road and distinctly hear 
the voices of passers-by even when at a great 
distance. A company of donkey-drivers stopping 
near the SabeeP of Mar EUas could be heard by 
him with remarkable distinctness, and amongst 
the voices he felt sure that he could distinguish 
the harsh vocables of his cousin Ibrahim. He was 
right. Ibrahim-et-Taiesh, of the village of Urtas, 
was indeed on his way to Jerusalem, driving his 
donkey before him, loaded with two long baskets 
of tomatoes for the market. 

Dawn had come. The first streaks of light in 
the distance, behind the mountains of Moab, east 
of Jordan, announced the rising sun. As the 
glorious sight appeared to his eyes, Ibrahim, as 
every Moslem beUever does when " God sends the 
morning," stroked his beard and, in a loud and 
rhythmical voice, exclaimed : ** Eshhadu inno la 
lUaha ill-Allah, wa Muhammad Rasoul Allah !— 
I witness that God is the only God and that 

* This Sabeel, or well, was set up by the authorities of the 
Greek Convent to supply water to travellers, who, flocking there, 
often cause a great uproar. These roadside wells are considered 
such a great blessing in this dry land that the Turkish Government 
exempts those who set them up from the usual duties oh the land 
and properties adjoining. 



PRAYERS AT DAWN 129 

Mohammed is His Prophet ! " Then, in lower 
tones, he murmured the Fatiha, or opening chapter 
of the Koran, interrupting his prayers now and 
then by pushing and cursing the donkey, " He ! 
He ! Yallah ! " — to encourage him to hasten 
forward and reach the gates of the Holy City 
before sunrise. 

When Jabber had come to the conclusion that 
his keen ears had not deceived him, he descended 
towards the main road and, enveloped in his grey 
and white Abba, sat down on a rock to await 
Ibrahim's arrival. As soon as his cousin was near 
enough, he rose and advanced to greet him with 
an " Allah ye sabhak bil kher ya Abu Muham- 
mad." ^ Ibrahim at once recognised the voice of 
his cousin Jabber es Sal eh, and answered his 
greeting. " Ja saba^h el kher, ya Abu Abed ! 
—Oh ! morning with plenty — Oh ! Father of 
Abed," he said. And both men walked silently 
for a few moments in the direction of the town. 

The arid mountains around them were tinged 
a roseate colour and by degrees the white-washed 
mosque of the village of Beth-Safafa came into 
view. As it did so a prayer, addressed to the 
patron-prophetess El Badariyeh, was muttered 
by both men. Little did they think that the 
venerated Badariyeh of the Moslems was a 
Christian saint before the Aurora of the Greeks, 

1 " God give you a plentiful morning, oh ! Abu Muhammad." 
Every Oriental enjoys the title of Abu, which corresponds to 
our Mr. 



130 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

and probably before that dedicated to some 
Ashteroth of the Israelites and Canaanites, since 
most sanctuaries in Palestine can be traced to the 
dawn of history. 

When their prayer was at an end, Jabber has- 
tened to unburden his mind of the information 
which had prompted him to go to meet his cousin 
on the road at such an unusual hour. He disclosed 
to Ibrahim that his brother, Said es-Saleh, was in 
prison at Jerusalem. 

" Wa hay at hal Badariyeh ! — By the life 
of the Saint ! " said he, lifting his hand in the 
direction of the rose-tinted mosque, " I declare 
that poor Said is innocent ; and he has sent me 
to ask you to go see him, bring him some food 
and help him out of his position." 

Lowering his voice, as if the surrounding fields 
had ears, he added : — 

" He is suspected of having stolen a huge sum 
of money from the Latin Convent at Jerusalem. 
You are known to have influence with the officials, 
so do your best to dehver him." 

Money questions are always interesting, and 
especially were they so to Ibrahim, whose crafty 
mind at once detected a gold mine. But he 
feigned to disregard the pecuniary side of the 
matter and take an interest only in the prisoner's 
welfare. Poor Said ! Another innocent one 
within the clutches of the hated Turk ! Promising 
to do what he could, he advised his cousin to leave 



ORIENTAL BARGAINING 131 

him there and then, lest they should be seen 
together and arouse suspicion. So Jabber promptly 
left him and crossed the plain towards his native 
home. 

II 

Immediately Ibrahim drove up the hiU towards 
the Jaffa Gate, where he was met by a greengrocer, 
who gave him a piaster and a half for breakfast, 
and thus prepared him favourably in view of the 
purchase of his tomatoes. Before they had reached 
the little plateau in front of the gate the grocer 
called out to the Kahwadji of a neighbouring 
coffee-house to bring two cups of coffee, and, 
stopping Ibrahim's donkey, pointed to two low 
stools. When seated, the grocer offered his 
companion thirty piasters Sagh^ for the thirty 
rottels^ of tomatoes. After a good deal of cursing 
and swearing "by his eyes and his head, his 
children and his own presence " that this offer 
was " a total loss " to him, they agreed and rose 
to continue their journey through the gate. Very 
soon they reached the grocer's shop and the 
tomatoes were poured out on to the floor, with 
a few crushed fruit at the bottom. This gave rise 
to new imprecations. 

" I have no distilling shop here, son of a dog," 
cried the grocer. " Do you think I am about to 

^ About 5s. 

2 A rottel is equal to six and a half pounds. 



132 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

set up a drinking den, you dirty Fellah. Accursed 
son ! Kafer ! Infidel ! " 

Finally the irate tradesman gave Ibrahim 
twenty-eight piasters and, to boot, almost flung 
him out of the shop. 

As though quite accustomed to this treatment, 
Ibrahim coolly moved away with his donkey 
towards a Khan, where he hastened to put up the 
animal before hurrying to the Saraia, or Governor's 
Palace, which, as in olden times, was adjacent 
to the prison. ^ All the time he had been occupied 
with the greengrocer, and indeed ever since he 
had left Jabber, his thoughts had centred around 
his imprisoned cousin. Whilst on his way he 
stopped in the market to buy a few cakes for 
Said, and on reaching his destination obtained 
admittance to see him by giving a few coppers to 
the prison-porter. On seeing his unfortunate 
cousin he gravely shook his head and exclaimed : 
" Poor Said ! How the vermin have devoured you ! 
In what a sorry condition are your clothes ! " 

Said replied that there was little to wonder at 
in that ; there were more than twenty in his cell, 
and every one tried to sleep as best he could on the 
bare ground. Penniless, he received the least 
food possible. After having eagerly devoured 
the few cakes Ibrahim had brought with him, they 
retired to a corner of the court and, squatting 
there. Said told him his story. 

^ Cf. Jeremiah xxxii. 2. 




By permission of 



The American Colony Photographers, Jerusalem 



Jaffa Gate 



A LUCRATIVE CONFESSION 133 

" As you know, I was a servant of the Secretary 
and Prior of the Convent of the Redeemer in 
Jerusalem, and many big sums of money passed 
through his hands. The Secretary was in the 
habit of carelessly putting the money-box under 
his bed, before carrying it to the bank. One day 
the Prior fell ill and, after a few days' unconscious- 
ness, died, without anybody knowing of the 
treasure in his room. Here was a good oppor- 
tunity for me. As they carried the dead body 
into the chapel, I appropriated the money-box, 
containing no less than 30,000 Napoleons, and that 
very night buried the money in Beth-Safafa ; 
and whilst they were still officiating about the 
dead body I was back again in the convent 
without anyone having noticed my absence. But 
after a few days it transpired that the money-box 
had disappeared. I was arrested and charged with 
theft. There is no proof, however, and as long 
as I feign to be poor they cannot prove my guilt 
even in the future. Now, cousin," said the guileful 
Said, "I'll tell you where the money is. Go and 
take it away and hide it until we see better days. 
Then we can divide it. But in the meantime 
take a few hundred pounds and get me out of 
prison. Buy clothes and food for me ; bribe the 
officials, so that I may be better treated until my 
innocence is proved. You will find the box 
buried a foot deep in the earth on the smaU hill 
on the eastern side of the solitary olive-tree which 



134 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

is in a straight line west of the Badariyeh. Swear 
to me by the Badariyeh, my cousin, that you will 
dig out the box and help me." 

Ibrahim promptly swore by the Badariyeh and 
by God that he would take the treasure without 
delay — " provided it is stiU there," he added, 
with a crafty and sceptical look. And having 
taken a farewell cup of coffee, which the jailer 
provided, Ibrahim departed. 

Ill 

That same evening Ibrahim et Taiesh went out 
to Beth-Safafa and passed the night at his cousin's. 
He discovered that nobody but himself and Said 
knew anything about the treasure, so he wisely 
kept his tongue still on that point. The informa- 
tion he gave the imprisoned man's friends and 
relatives concerned the horrible state of the prison, 
the thieves and murderers who were Said's 
companions — all sorts of disreputable people, 
mostly Fellahin of the Jerusalem district, whose 
company would only corrupt the poor fellow. 
Ibrahim went on to say that he had come, there- 
fore, to collect some money from them to help to 
better his miserable condition. That evening 
a few hundred Beshliks ^ were collected and these 
Ibrahim promised to take home, to try to find 
some more in Urtas to add to them, and then to 
set to work for the prisoner's release. 

* A Beshlik is about 5d. 



A TREASURE FOUND AND LOST 135 

Early next morning, when it was yet dark, 
Ibrahim left Beth-Safafa and found the tree be- 
neath which the treasure was buried. Unearthing 
the money-box without much difficulty, he 
hid its contents in his pockets and baskets 
and, abandoning the box, quietly returned to 
Urtas. 

Weeks and months passed and still poor Said 
was waiting in vain for the promised help. Ibrahim 
never went to pay him as much as a visit, but sent 
Jabber to tell him that he had not been able to 
carry out " the commission," and therefore he 
could do nothing for him, except send bread and 
oil from time to time, thanks to a collection which 
had been made for him. Finally, declaring that 
he was tired of bribing the officials to no effect, 
he advised Said to await his turn to be released, 
and, like the chief of the butlers in Pharaoh's 
days, did his best " to forget him." ^ 

To keep Said in prison the authorities of the 
convent had from time to time to disburse sums 
of money. This prompted them, at last, to plead 
" not guilty " for their old servant ; and thus 
Said's first trials came to an end. 

Said was no sooner out of prison than, thinking 
that Ibrahim had not succeeded in locating the 
treasure, he proceeded to the spot where he had 
buried it. But, much to his disappointment, 
he found it was gone. Shortly afterwards, whilst 

^ Genesis xl. 23. 



136 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

on his way to Urtas, he discovered the empty 
box behind a bush. Was Ibrahim, he thought, 
the culprit ? That was a question he would not 
be long in solving. 

Continuing on his way, he struck the main road 
to Bethlehem, near Rachel's tomb. A number 
of Bedawin, men and women, were assembled 
there for a funeral service, for the Bedawin of the 
desert of Judah all bury their dead near Rachel's 
sanctuary, as their forefathers the Israelites of 
old did around their sanctuaries. ^ Being a good 
Moslem, he joined the assembly and told them 
how, just out of prison, he was on his way to his 
cousin Ibrahim, at Urtas. Then he left them, 
and before evening arrived in the village. Said 
fully expected to find his cousin a wealthy man, 
but, to his astonishment and deUght, instead of 
finding luxury and abundance, he found the whole 
family, consisting of Ibrahim, his wife, and nine 
children, all in one room just home from hard 
work in the fields, and about to sit down to an 
almost poor supper of lentils and bread. He was 
given a hearty welcome and kept there for several 
days, during which he went to work with the 
others. " No," thought Said, at the end of his 
sojourn, " there is not the slightest sign of wealth 
here. I am sorry to have suspected my cousin 
of villainy." And forthwith he decided to go 
back to Jerusalem and find work in his old convent ! 

^ Genesis xlix. 31. 



BLOODY FEUDS 137 

IV 

During many centuries bloody feuds had been 
carried on in the village of Urtas between Ibrahim's 
and Salem's people.^ About the time of Said's 
release from prison the head of Ibrahim's adverse 
party was not very prosperous financially. But, 
being in favour with the officials in Jerusalem, 
he was elected Mayor of the village. The two 
enemies closely watched each other, and Ibrahim 
knew that if he showed the least imprudence his 
ill-gotten wealth would soon be discovered and 
be a cause for new trouble. For the time being, 
poverty, he decided, was the best policy. 

Years went by and the arrogance of Salem grew 
apace. Vexations of all kinds were heaped upon 
Salem's enemies. Ibrahim and his wife were 
bound together — an unspeakable insult in Islam — 
and were taken to gaol to Hebron on the most 
futile motive. After a time they were released 
by order of the officials. Ibrahim's people were 
charged with double and treble taxes ; his fourteen 
and fifteen-year-old sons were denounced as 
twenty and of an age for conscription, and money 
had to be paid in Jerusalem to convince the 
authorities that they were still under age. At last 
the vexations became too hard, a plot was formed 
and Salem was found dead. ^ Whereupon Ibrahim 
and some of the leaders of his party were 

^ See Murder and Marriage in Urtas, pp. 122, 123. . 
2 Ibid., p. 123. 



138 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

imprisoned, and for over two years had to feed on 
" the bread of affliction and the water of afflic- 
tion."^ When Salem's party had exhausted its 
funds by bribing the officials to keep its enemies 
in prison, it became Ibrahim's turn to show the 
power of his hand. He and his people were 
released, and the moment that he stepped out of 
prison he knew that his buried money, now that 
Salem was dead, could be used advantageously. 

Not very long afterwards he, in turn, was elected 
Mayor of Urtas. By slow degrees he got back 
the family lands, gardens and vineyards which — 
to his dishonour 2 — had been mortgaged. After 
a Ufe of poverty and many hardships he again came 
into the possession of the properties inherited 
from his forefathers — the result, as everyone 
concluded, of a life of assiduous labour, and an 
evident blessing from Allah, the bestower of all 
good things. 

1 I. Kings xxii. 27. 

* A Fellah is only considered to be really wealthy when he 
possesses land, and, like Naboth of old (see I. l6ngs xxi. 1, 3 and 4), 
he will not readily part with the inheritance of his fathers. Losing 
his land is as much a dishonour as possessing a dishonoured wife. 



VIII 

AN EYE FOR AN EYE 

I 

The frogs of Jericho had reached the noisiest 
part of their nocturnal concert. Croak had begun 
to answer croak fully a couple of hours before, 
and now the whole countryside echoed with the 
harsh rasping notes from a hundred thousand dis- 
tended cheek-pouches. The howling of jackals 
in the distance alone broke the monotonous song. 
Yet the small mud-hut town, enclosed by Dom-tree 
hedges and inhabited by a few hundred poor 
Bedawin agriculturists, tranquilly slept on, and 
the habitues of the modern buildings which serve 
as hotels on the outskirts turned not once in their 
sleep. Only Philip Ralston, a new-comer to the 
country, found a difficulty in slumbering. 

" ranaeque palustres 

Avertunt somnos," 

he said to himself, as the incessant croaking 
brought the words of Horace to his mind, and, 
what with the frogs, the heat and the fierce buz- 
zing of baffled mosquitoes outside his tightly- 
drawn curtains, he came to the conclusion that, 
tired out though he was with his six hours' ride from 
Jerusalem, he was destined to pass a sleepless 
night. 

199 



140 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

It was Philip Ralston's first visit to the East, 
and his mind was full of those delightful early 
impressions which are produced by the unfamiliar 
scenery of a new country, full of light and colour, 
and the strange picturesqueness of a new people. 
Fresh from Oxford, where he had pursued his 
studies with infinite credit, he had come out to 
Palestine, at the invitation of his uncle Theodore 
Ralston, a prosperous English trader and old 
resident of Jerusalem, with the object of per- 
fecting his knowledge of Arabic and exploring 
the land to which his thoughts had so often turned. 
He had an ardent desire to know the country as 
his uncle Theodore knew it : to traverse the length 
and breadth of the high-lands of Palestine, formed 
by the running down of two mountain chains 
from Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, — to wander on 
the lowlands of the Jordan valley, or El Ghor, 
between those two ranges, and on the Plains of 
Sharon, along the shore of the Mediterranean, — 
to see the Jordan rise at the foot of snow-capped 
Mount Hermon and, perhaps, to follow its course 
to the south end of the Dead Sea, nearly four 
thousand feet below Jerusalem and more than a 
thousand below the level of the Mediterranean. 
Ah ! thought the weary Philip Ralston, what 
pleasures were in store for him ! He had had a 
foretaste of them that day when, whilst riding 
with his uncle to Jericho, they had tarried on the 
Mount of Olives to view the Mountains of Moab ; 



EL GHOR 141 

an immense blue wall — beautiful to behold — 
rising in the Trans jordanic region. 

But how hot it was in El Ghor ! He could 
understand, now, that 110° in the shade had been 
registered there on May 8th, 1847, and why some- 
one had said that Jericho was " the hottest place 
next to hell ! " 

Was uncle Theodore sleeping through it all ? 
he wondered. But the point was left undebated, for 
just then the incessant croak, croak, croak of the 
frogs performed its work and Philip Ralston, 
turning over on his side, at last found sleep. 

II 

Uncle and nephew were in the saddle at dawn, 
riding towards the Jordan. They had not been 
on their journey across the broad valley for more 
than an hour before there occurred one of those 
little wayside incidents which so deUghted the 
heart of Philip Ralston. At a turning of the 
white, dusty road they saw coming towards them, 
on a pure-bred Arab steed, a fine-looking Bedawi 
chief. He was riding slowly, as the Bedawin 
always do, except when in danger, and was armed 
and accoutred in accordance with his station. A 
carabine was hanging from his saddle-knob ; he 
was girded by a Damascene sword, inlaid with 
silver ; and on his shoulder he was carrying his 
heavy twelve-foot long spear, with its ornamental 
crown of black ostrich feathers — about the size 

II— (3131) 



142 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

of a man's head — around the shaft, just below the 
blade. The breast and belly of his fine mare 
were entirely covered with long tassels in red, 
green, white and yellow, to ward off the flies, and 
as it proudly stepped along these pendent orna- 
ments danced and shimmered in the morning sun 
like gems suspended on silken cords. 

" Ah ! an old friend of mine ! " exclaimed 
Theodore Ralston, on seeing the Bedawi. " Now, 
PhiUp, my boy, you will take your first lesson in 
Eastern ceremonial." 

And he pushed forward on his horse to offer the 
customary greeting : " Salaam aleik — Peace be 
to you ! " 

" Aleik es-salaam ! — And to you peace also ! " 
responded the Bedawi, a stately man with black 
moustachios and a beard resembling that of 
Napoleon III, but without its artifice. 

" Sleem Ali-el-Thiab, this is my nephew, PhiUp 
Ralston, who has come from afar to be one of us," 
continued the uncle, in the purest Arabic. " We 
are on our way to feast our eyes on the sacred 
waters of the Jordan." 

With these words, the EngUsh trader, as an 
additional token of friendship, held forth his 
tobacco bag, which every real Bedawi accepts 
gratefully. Sleem filled his long pipe and returned 
the pouch, with a wish that " it might always 
be fuU." Theodore Ralston received it back 
and said, " by your voice." These compliments 



A BEDAWI CHIEF . 143 

preceded the lighting of the pipe, when others 
were exchanged. 

" May you never know its evil/' said the trader, 
as he handed a hghted match. 

" Nor you its heat," responded the Bedawi, 
as, with evident satisfaction, he applied it to the 
bowl and began to inhale the fragrant smoke. 

Ill 

When Sleem AH-el-Thiab, after stating his busi- 
ness in Jericho and wishing them, in the name of 
Allah, a safe journey, had gone on his way, Theo- 
dore Ralston explained when and where he had 
made this dignified man's acquaintance. It was 
a curious story, embodying a tragic adventure in 
the life of the Bedawi chief, and full of those Httle 
known ethnological and scientific facts which can 
only be gathered during long years of intimate 
contact with a country and its people. Philip 
felt that he would not have missed it for the world. 

" It was at the beginning of April, 1874, early 
in the morning, that I first saw Sleem Ali-el- 
Thiab," began the trader. " He was riding slowly 
along this very road, but in the opposite direction 
to which he was going to-day, and he was dressed 
and armed in exactly the way you have seen him. 
I became his friend, on trotting up to him with a 
* Salaam aleik,' after going through identically 
the same ceremonial you have just witnessed. A 
remarkable fact — this unchangeableness of things 



144 IHE IMMOVABLE EAST 

in the East ; and the longer you live in Palestine 
the more you will notice it. Men grow old, as 
Sleem and I, alas ! show only too clearly, but 
habits and customs and modes of thought remain 
the same. That is why you so often hear me speak 
of the Immovable East. 

" Well, when the ice was broken by my offering 
him the tobacco pouch and we rode on together, I 
learnt that he was a son of Ali-el-Thiab of the 
Aduan tribe. Consequently his fuU name is Sleem 
AU-el-Thiab-el-Aduan. The Aduans are a warlike 
people of the Transjordanic region who winter on 
the Plain of Sittim and pass most of the summer 
and autumn on the highlands of Moab. The 
eastern portion of the plain, with Nimrin as a 
centre, consists of fine arable land, interspersed, 
here and there, by miles of forests of the Lote- 
tree, or Rhamnus naheca, which is also known 
among the Arabs as the D 6m- tree or Sidr, and 
which is noteworthy for its thorn-apples, the 
only fruit of the Bedawi and much appreciated, 
when dried by the natives, for their sweet flavour. 
These Dom-forests, as Sleem told me, are almost 
impenetrable to man. Hyaenas, jackals, wolves, 
and foxes abound, whilst birds of every kind, 
from vultures to titmice, make themselves at 
home in the thickets. Like the frogs of Jericho 
by night, so in these dense forests do two kinds 
of turtle-doves, in wailing tones, call out aU day 
long : one for its lost plumage — * Ya-joukh-ti ! 



LIFE IN THE THICKET 145 

Ya-joukh-ti ! ' — and the other, a sacred bird, 
thanking its creator — ' Ya kareem ! Ya kareem ! 
— Oh ! merciful ! Oh ! merciful ! ' Big snakes 
of all kinds steal along through the undergrowth 
hunting for mice and birds. There is the immense 
Esculap of the Colubridae family of Ophidians 
and the bluish-black Zamenis carbonarius, which 
often exceeds two yards and rises to half its length 
when about to strike ; and this Carbonarius, 
otherwise called * Hanash,' is certainly, with the 
Esculap, the * Na'hash ' of the Bible, — the brazen 
serpent of Moses. 

" Such is the home of Sleem Ali-el-Thiab-el- 
Aduan. 

" As he told me these things, we rode along the 
cornfields, the ears often rising high above our 
heads and giant marygolds lining the fields. 
Sleem also spoke about the forthcoming harvest 
and the part they would have to give to the * vile 
Fellah.' For a self-respecting Bedawi never tills 
the ground, but lets his lands to the Fellah of the 
Jerusalem district, who does the work and furnishes 
the seed, giving a quarter of the gross receipts 
in return to the landlord. 

" After the arable lands and forests came a 
sandy desert, where reptiles and mice abound, 
and which stretches, as you will later see, 
as far as the marly hills preceding Jordan. 
Here Sleem called my attention to the 
dangerous nature of the surroundings — to these 



146 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

slimy hills, where not only boars hide in the 
rushes but where men might easily lie in wait 
for stray travellers. His mind seemed singularly 
full of suspicion, and I could tell from his quick 
glances to right and left that he was on his guard 
against some possible unseen enemy. In another 
half -hour we reached the forest of poplars, willows 
and licorice-trees, and it was then that an incident 
occurred which has a direct bearing on my story. 
Sleem suddenly pulled in his horse and warned 
me, with a sharp cry, to do the same. With his 
eyes directed on the road in front of him and a 
stern look on his face, he and his tightly-reined-in 
mare stood like a statue. 

" * Tarsha ! ' he exclaimed. 

" And there, indeed, in front of us, I saw a 
Daboia viper crossing the road. Once it stopped 
and blew up its head in the Cobra di Capello 
fashion, but soon it proceeded on its way and dis- 
appeared in the shrubs. I was for going after it, 
but Sleem told me not to interfere, as only the 
Dervishes, or Moslem monks belonging to the 
holy order of the Sheikh Ehmad el-Erf a 'i, who lived 
in the days of the glory of the Khaleefs of Meso- 
potamia, had authority, as viper-charmers, to 
meddle with snakes. 

" * Heed not this Tarsha, the Deaf,' said the 
Bedawi, solemnly. * Shale illah ! ya rjahl 
Allah ! — Respect to God, oh ! men of God ! Does 
not the viper-charmer himself bid everybody 




THE DEAF ADDER 147 

leave snakes alone ? This Deaf One, friend, 
heareth not ! ' 

** You know what the Psalmist says, Philip ? 
* The wicked are like the deaf adder that stoppeth 
her ear ; which will not harken to the voice of 
charmers, charming never so wisely.' The 
Immovable East again, my boy. 

" And perhaps it was just as well I followed 
Sleem's advice, for the Dahoia Xanthina, which, 
like many vipers, coils and lifts its head ready to 
strike, and then darts in the direction of its victim, 
is a particularly dangerous creature. A mere 
scratch from its fangs is sufficient to cause certain 
death. It is generally very little over a yard in 
length, but is as thick as the Esculap. A nasty 
customer is the Tarsha, or, as it is less poetically 
called, the Za'ara — the short-tailed. 

" Our meeting the Daboia seemed to cast a 
cloud over Sleem Ali-el-Thiab's mind. He 
remained silent until we had crossed the Jordan. 
There was no bridge over the river in those days, 
and as my new friend was unable to swim, I had 
to cross the stream four times : twice for him and 
his mare and twice for my one horse and my 
clothes. In this way we lost quite an hour and a 
half. 

'* It was the sight of some caves at the foot of 
the mountains of Moab, and when we had been on 
the road again two hours or so, which caused 
Sleem to open his mouth once more. 



148 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

" * God curse him ! ' he exclaimed, with a bit- 
terness which made me give a quick glance at his 
still solemn, thoughtful face. 

" I asked him to whom he referred, whereupon 
he told me the story of the adventure which the 
Daboia and the caves had brought to his mind. 

" The Rascheidy Bedawin of the western shores 
of the Dead Sea had come, he related, on a cattle- 
lifting expedition to the eastern shores and were 
overtaken by the Aduans. In their retreat, an 
Aduany Bedawi was killed by Muhammad el- 
Rachidi of the Rascheidy, and, as Moslem law 
recognises, Muhammad was a blood-debtor to 
Sleem and all the Thiab family. Both Jewish and 
Moslem lawgivers are of the same opinion on this 
point. We read in Exodus^ : * He that smiteth 
a man so that he die shall be surely put to death,' 
and a little further on ^ : ' Eye for eye, tooth for 
tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for 
burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.* 
The Koran ^ says : * Believers ! Retaliation is set 
up for murder. A freeman shall be put to death 
for a freeman, a slave for a slave, a woman for a 
woman, and so forth.' 

" Now, years had passed since this encounter 
between the two tribes, and, though a Moslem 
never forgives, Muhammad, who had business 
to attend to away from home, had almost forgotten 
that Aduans might be roaming about. Still, 

1 xxi. 12. « Verses 24 and 25. » Sura ii. 175. 



FACE TO FACE 149 

in the instinctive manner of a Rascheidy Bedawi, 
he cautiously crossed the Jerusalem to Jericho 
road and hid in a cave above the declivity of the 
Wady Kelt,— the Brook Cherith of the Bible. 
There, in order to avoid encountering an enemy 
whilst on his way home and on a prospective visit 
up El Ghor to the Beni Sakhr (who roam about 
Bashan and Galilee), he went to sleep, intending 
to come out at nightfall and continue his journey. 
Just before dusk he peeped out of his hiding 
place. But at that very moment, to his terror, 
an Aduany was passing and caught sight of him. 
It was Sleem, the son of Ali-el-Thiab. 

" * Ya marun il waldain ! — Cursed of both 
parents ! ' cried Sleem, riding up with his hand on 
his sword. * Have you fallen at last into the hands 
of men ? ' 

" Terror-stricken, Muhammad el-Rachidi begged 
for his life, crying : * Ana fi dakh-lak — I am 
under your protection ! ' 

" Now, it is an unwritten law among these 
people that a dignified Bedawi ought never to beg, 
even for his life. Moreover, Sleem, the son of a 
great chieftain, with three hundred horsemen, 
whose steeds and arms, at least, he could call his 
own, could not, by reason of his superior station, 
refuse a humble petition for mercy. So, as he 
looked down, with blood-shot eyes, on the kneeling 
Muhammad, his blood boiled at the thought that 
he had lost an occasion for vengeance. How sweet 



150 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

it would have been to have carried out the law of 
the Koran : * A freeman shall be put to death for a 
freeman ! ' 

*' The well-known words had no sooner occurred 
to him when a strange thing happened. His 
quick eye caught sight of a huge Daboia viper 
as it coiled back into a hole in the rock above 
Muhammad's head ! A thought flashed through 
his brain. 

" * Muhammad el-Rachidi,' said Sleem, slowly 
and with great presence of mind, ^rise and await 
your destiny/ 

" ' No/ replied the trembling Bedawi, * not 
until you have sworn that you will not harm 
me.* 

" * Get up, accursed ! ' cried Sleem, severely. 
* I swear by Allah and the life of Allah ! — Wallahi 
Billahi ! — that I, the son of Thiab, will not seek 
your life, neither by this firearm' — touching his 
carabine — * nor by this steel ' — touching his 
sword — * but will leave you to die by God's will 
and when he will. And now, Muhammad, swear 
to me that, in return, you will never again attempt 
anything against any of my family, great or small ; 
and as we have no prayer-niche or other sacred 
place near by, put your hand into that hole, repre- 
senting a Mu'hrab (a prayer-stand) ' — pointing to 
the Daboia' s retreat — 'and swear.* 

" Muhammad el-Rachidi rose and readily put 
forth his hand, but no sooner had it entered the 



FATE'S DEADLY STROKE 151 

hole than the deadly stroke was given and he fell, 
with pallid face, to the ground. 

" ' Kteeby wa inkatbat ! — the sentence was 
written ! The sentence was written ! ' cried 
Muhammad, whose features were already begin- 
ning to twitch convulsively, * I was destined to 
die here and to-day ! * 

" * Naseebak ! God willed it ! It is your lot,' 
cried Sleem, fiercely, as he coolly looked on at the 
agony of his enemy. 

" A quarter of an hour later the Bedawi turned 
rein, leaving the dying Rascheidy to the jackals 
and the hyaenas, and rode at full speed to his 
tribe, eager to announce the happy yet fatal news. 
And the women ululated and joy went through 
the camp, for the dead Aduany was revenged. 

" Such was the story which Sleem Ali-el-Thiab 
related to me when, invited to pay my first 
visit to his people, I was riding with him towards 
their encampment," concluded Theodore Ralston. 
"As we reached the * black tents of Kedar,' of 
which the Bible tells us, night was coming on and 
barking dogs came forth to meet us. At the tent 
doors fires had been lit for supper and women were 
busy baking. Half -naked children ran about in 
all directions. Horses of the finest breed, all 
ready saddled, were tethered at a short distance. 
Cows and camels were chewing in the central parts 
of the camp. And, later, men gathered before 



152 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

the guest-tent, sipping their coffee and smoking 
their pipes, to talk over the events of the day 
and discuss the question of a Ghazu to be under- 
taken as soon as the harvest was over and the 
wheat had been stored away in the wheat-wells." 



n 




< s 



^ 

o 

-^ 

o 












IX 

LAIL 

" Bous el kalh 'alia thimmo, ta takhut 'hakak tntnno." 

" Kiss the dog on the mouth, till- you obtain what you want of 
him." — An Arab Proverb. 



The sons of Adam disdain dogs, but in many 
places they raise us up and utilise us. Thus, in 
the camp where I lived, there were shepherd 
dogs, with thick fur, and watch-dogs, with a smooth 
coat all over, and the tall, thin greyhounds 
which are used for hunting the gazelles on the 
broad plains of Philistia, near my first home. 

I was born in camp, south of Beersheba, and 
belonged to a family of the Azazmeh Arabs. On 
account of my jet black fur they called me Lail, 
— Night. We travelled up and down the desert of 
Edom. Sometimes my masters camped near the 
borders of Gaza. And once, when our people were 
hard pursued by the Jahaline Arabs, with whom 
we were at war, we passed near a village. When 
young and on the move, I was carried on the 
back of a camel with the children, but later I 
followed — mile after mile — on foot, with the 
other dogs of our community. 

Though each dog belonged to a separate tent 
and each received his food from his own master, 

153 



154 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

we exercised our calling in common. All night, 
or whenever we heard strange sounds, we barked. 
We were more indifferent to the wailing of jackals ; 
— we pitied the poor fellows, and they never 
(except at certain periods, when even jackals and 
bitches meet) came near us. But we pricked up 
the stumps of our cropped ears when the hideous 
laughter of the hyaena was heard, and together 
we chased in the direction of the enemy. In 
the daytime we were generally at rest, within the 
shadow of the tents, but only until some foreigner 
passed. We could easily distinguish Fellahin 
or other strangers, who generally came on foot or 
on mules. Then we would bark our loudest. 
But should any Bedawi or camels of our own tribe 
approach by day or by night not a dog would move 
his tongue. Of course, there were exceptions to 
the rule. A Bedawi might come in or try to 
enter from the west, where the tent ropes indicate 
there is no entrance, and that we could never allow. 
Full of experience, and covered with wounds and 
scars, were my elders. Our first leader was Sabe* — 
the Lion, who really deserved his name. He had 
lost an eye in a fight with a huge hyaena, which, 
creeping up to the camp, would have carried off a 
goat or a sheep but for Sabers vigilance. Sabe' 
attacked the hyaena, but before the other dogs 
arrived to assist him, the beast, with his mighty 
teeth, had seized our leader's head and pierced an 
eye. Feehng the dogs upon him, our enemy fled 



SCARRED DOGS 155 

for his life and told his fellows that they had 
" better eat clay than risk a battle with the dogs 
of the Arab."^ The news spread, and thus did 
Sabe' come to be dreaded by all the wild beasts 
of the neighbourhood. 

Baida, the old white bitch, too, was marked 
across her back with scars which she had received 
in a fight with two wolves. But for Ibrak, the 
black and white dog, who became the leader of 
our band when Sabe' (as I will tell you presently) 
was killed, she would have been almost skinned. 
A brave and trustworthy chief was Ibrak. His 
master often used to say : " I could not be sure of 
retaining my tent and my flocks without him. 
His place is marked." Yet Ibrak had a broken 
limb, the result of an attack on our camp, — this 
time by man. There were few of us, indeed — 
and least of all Hawa, the Wind, who could almost 
fly — who could not say that he or she had licked 
an honourable wound. 

Looking back to those days, I think that I can 
say that we were generally well treated by our 
masters. Was it because they needed us ? For 
they say, you know : " Kiss the dog on the 
mouth, till you obtain what you want of him." 
Yes ; I think that the Bedawin are really fond 
of dogs. Was not Sabe' as much loved by his 
owner as he was feared by the wild beasts ? . . . 
Poor Sabe' ! What a splendid leader he was! — 

* A well-known Arab proverb. 



156 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

what keen senses he possessed ! — how easily he 
could detect the slightest smell or sound I 

II 

Late one evening, when the camp-fires had died 
out, an unaccustomed sound was heard in the 
darkness. As quick as hghtning, Sabe' rushed in 
the direction of the noise, closely followed by Hawa, 
Ibrak, Beda, and the remainder of our band. 
We found a man lying on the ground ; — he had 
stumbled over a peg and a tent-cord. What 
could have been his business there, late at night 
and coming from the west, whence no honest 
Bedawi comes ? ^ We all compassed him and 
attacked him fiercely, ^ and Sabe^ who had bitten 
him in the calf of the leg, would surely have torn 
him to pieces had not the intruder shot him in the 
head. 

The report of the pistol alarmed the camp and 
in an instant everyone was afoot. Suffering 
from several bites, and hindered by us from 
escaping, the unknown one was soon captured. 
He was beaten and put in chains until morning, 
when he was found to belong to a neighbouring 
friendly tribe. What could have been his object 
in coming from the west and in the darkness of the 
night ? Had he come to see a friend ? . . . 
However, a commission of three men from each 

^ The openings of the tents in an Arab camp always face the 
East. 

• Cf. Psalms xxii. 16. 



HAPPY CAMP LIFE 157 

camp was appointed to judge him for killing a dog. 
And as Sabe', according to his owner, was a most 
valuable animal, the culprit was condemned to 
pay for him, — the price being a heap of flour as 
high as would reach the tip of Sabers tail when he 
was held vertically with his nose to the ground. 

Afterwards, when I left the camp and lived in a 
town, I found that dogs were killed without 
anybody interfering. But it was different with 
the Bedawin, who treated us really most respect- 
fully, compared with the disdainful treatment I 
received among townsmen. True, the dogs in 
towns are often very mean. But that is because 
they are ill-used. They have a saying, there, that 
" a dog begat a puppy, who turned out more 
unclean than his father." Now, I beg to ask, 
how can a dog be clean who feeds on carcasses and 
rubbish, and who lies down to sleep in unswept 
streets ? 

Ah ! yes, things were very different in my old 
camp. I used even to play with the children and 
receive food from their hands. I was young then, 
for the older dogs never play with the children. 
Though we had nearly always enough to eat, 
the arrival of visitors was ever welcomed among us, 
for that meant a feast for all. The guests received 
their food in a central tent and fed us on the bones 
and scraps. Ours was a social life ; we rarely 
quarrelled over food. . . . My thoughts go back 
to a certain day on which a calf was torn to pieces 

12 — (2131) 



158 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

by wolves not far from the encampment. When 
our masters came to the rescue the animal was 
deadj so they abandoned it to us, because they said 
it was unclean.^ But we found it anything but 
that and all agreed that man's tastes were strange. 

Ill 

After Sabe"s death Ibrak became our leader, 
and about the same time Beda had four young 
ones, which she protected against wind and cold 
behind a tent. One day, a boy from the inside 
touched her soft fur and said : " It is really very 
fine and warm." Whereupon I heard his father 
reprove him and say : " Zei souf el klaab, na'em 
wa nijiss, — Though the dog's wool is soft, it is 
unclean." Feeling very sorry for Beda, I 
approached her to show my sympathy, but she 
flew at me so fiercely that I ran away as fast as I 
could, yelping all the time. How very queer 
both men and dogs are ! Our masters speak of 
us as unclean, yet we love them dearly ; whilst 
we are ready, at times, to persecute every weaker 
dog, though its intentions may be of the best. 

When Beda's puppies were three weeks old the 
owner of the last tent came and asked for a J arm 
(a puppy) and took away a brown one. On 
seeing this Jarru's pendent ears, I imagined it 
must be of another race and felt so glad. I 

^ Cf. Exodus xxii. 31 : " And ye shall be holy men unto me ; 
neither shall ye eat any flesh that is torn of beasts in the field ; 
ye shall cast it to the dogs." 



KATTOOSH 159 

thought of the fun of puUing them when at play. 
But the cruel man took the poor browny to his 
tent and, cutting his ears in halves, forced him to 
eat the bits, under the pretext that this would 
make him more fierce. The Jarru howled and 
howled for hours, whereupon the children laughed 
and called him Kattoosh, — the Earless. He was 
given this name at first for fun, but he ever 
afterwards retained it. 

Kattoosh remained a prisoner in a hen-coop 
for eight days. On rolling away the stone at the 
entrance, to shove in the potsherd containing his 
meal of bread soaked in water, the children daily 
told each other that he was to remain there until 
his wounds were healed. But he was not wholly 
free when released from his box. They attached 
him for another week to a tent-peg, so that he 
might know (as they said) his home and his mas- 
ters. Then he was freed from his cord, — never, 
during the whole of his Ufe, to be attached 
again. 

It was a free life in the camp of the Bedawin, — 
a life full of new experiences and adventures with 
Kattoosh. I taught him to catch lizards and bark 
and bite at serpents. But we never ate any, as 
jackals and cats do. We dogs preferred to eat 
dry bread, the lentils or pastry which our masters 
wasted, and, once in a while, to gnaw a bone. We 
knew, moreover, how to find the carcasses of 
animals lying at a distance, long before the smell 



160 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

reached us, by the sight of the vultures and ravens 
soaring above them. 

That first winter of my life, — how well I remem- 
ber it ! Continual rains brought much trouble 
to our camp. We could never find a dry place. 
As we had not yet left the mountains, the flocks 
suffered terribly from scarcity of food. One 
afternoon, during a thunderstorm, several weak 
goats were lost. We hunted for them the next 
morning and at last found their dead bodies near 
some rocks, under the lee of which they had sought 
shelter. Again there was a big feast, in company 
with the birds of the air and the beasts of the field. ^ 
We barked all night to drive away the jackals and 
the hyaenas, but at last we could eat no more, so 
we returned to the camp and slept until dawn. 
Only two carcasses were left, and these were gnawed 
and torn, when we later inspected the remains. 
Hyaenas had carried away the others. And very 
soon the ravens and the eagles finished the rest.^ 

On account of the severe winter and the stench 
from the carcasses, our masters loaded the camels 
with the tents and furniture, and set off towards 
the warmer lowlands. Whilst on the way we 
overtook another party of Arabs, whose destina- 
tion was the same as ours. The two bands, who 
were on friendly terms, greeted each other with 
fair words. But I never heard of dogs of different 
camps doing the same. No sooner did we see the 

1 Cf. II. Samuel xxi. 10. « cf. Proverbs xxx. 17. 



LEFT BY THE ROADSIDE 161 

rival pack than we attacked it fiercely. Never 
before was there such a barking and a howling, 
such a growling and a tearing at each other as 
then. Friend and foe were soon inextricably 
entangled, each snapping and jumping at his 
neighbour's throat, until, at last, the men inter- 
fered with sticks and clubs. ^ In the midst of this 
terrible melee I received a blow on the head which 
stunned me and left me stretched on the ground 
as though dead. 

" Poor Lail ! " I heard some of my people 
say. " What a pity ! Who was it struck him ? " 

As they were discussing the matter, an elderly 
man intervened and said : — 

" Why trouble your heads about him ? You 
know the proverb: 'A dog became a carcass.' 
Lose no more time ! Had it been Sabe^ the One- 
eyed, or Ibrak the Lame, or Hawa the Swift, 
or even Beda the Flayed, we might have sought 
out the evil-doer. But it is only Lail ! He had 
a big voice, a good appetite, and he hid during 
the night. Allah yekhfi, — May God hide him ! " 

And they left me lying in the middle of the rough 
roadway. I could hear their footsteps and voices 
fading away in the distance but could not move a 
hair. 

IV 

The day was far gone when I heard strange 
voices approaching, — voices surely not those of 

^ Cf. I. Samuel xvii. 43. 



162 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Bedawin. The new-comers rode on mules and 
had luggage sacks. There were no camels, no 
women, no children, and not a single dog. Their 
conversation had nothing to do with either flocks 
or camps or war expeditions. They spoke in a 
strange dialect of buildings and towns, of the sale 
of butter and he-goats, of money and of the buying 
of bread. Ah ! how hungry I was and how the 
mention of food made me long for some ! 

" Halloo ! " cried the first man on catching 
sight of me. " Here's a dog. How came he 
here ? " 

And uttering a strange call — " Kss ! Kss ! " — 
he cast a morsel of bread in my direction. I rose 
and timidly crept towards it, for I feared their 
strange faces. There was nought else to strike 
terror in my heart, — neither sticks, nor stones, 
nor weapons ; they carried hardly a stick with 
which to beat their mules. 

I followed them when the bread was eaten, for 
what more does a dog require than bread and 
human company ? Though they were almost 
always harsh to me when I approached too near, 
yet, from time to time, they threw me food. 

By evening we came to a stone-built village. 
The houses were further apart than our tents, 
which form a protection one to the other. There, 
every house had a protecting wall around it and a 
door leading into a courtyard. And every house 
possessed a dog, which, barking and rushing 



A DOG'S DUTY 163 

inside the wall, threatened to reach us. Evidently 
these animals were of the watch-dog class, like 
our own ; only they did not live together, as with 
us. This struck me as strange. For I had always 
imagined that, just as men gathered together, so 
did dogs flock together by night, when they lived 
in the same group of houses or tents. There were 
few of these viUage dogs, too, which had scars. 
Were they never attacked by beast or by man ? 

My new masters tethered the mules in an en- 
closure away from the houses, and there I stood on 
guard all night. That is a dog's work, and it is 
weU, in an unknown place, to be loud-voiced and 
angry. But long before dawn, and whilst the 
stars were still twinkling, the mules were packed 
and off we went, over hills and valleys, through 
olive-groves and vineyards. Noon found us near 
water, where the mules drank and fed and rested ; 
at sunset we reached a big gate and a place 
surrounded by high waUs. 

There were no courtyards to the houses in this 
city, ^ and as we passed along the streets I wondered 
where the dogs could be. Soon, every man in our 
party went in a different direction, so that I was 
at a loss to know whom to foUow. I could not 
forget that I was nobody's dog . . . My choice 
feU on the man who had first given me bread. 
Dismounting from his mule, he knocked at a 
door, which he entered with his animal. I 

* Jerusalem. 



164 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

prepared to follow. But to my disappointment 
he turned round and kicked me, exclaiming : — 

" Out ! unclean dog ! Barra ! Yen 'al !— Out, 
cursed animal ! " 

And he banged the door behind him, 
murmuring : " Akhs ! Coward ! " 

There I was, alone in a great city, where people 
possess everything more plentifully than in a 
camp yet have no room for a dog. But a faithful 
dog will not abandon his master's house because 
curses are heaped upon him. It is true that they 
say : " He who is in need of a dog calls him Hadj 
Ehmad." However, as in the fields, where I was 
wanted, I continued my duty. All through the 
night and at everyone who passed I barked my 
loudest. Many were the stones which came my 
way. 

My reward came with the dawn, when the people 
in the houses threw their refuse into the streets. 
Soon I learnt that I must pick up my living in this 
way or die ; so for several days I sought among the 
rubbish heaps for food. One morning, three or 
four men came along, dragging a dead ass out of 
the town. Several dogs were following, so I 
joined them. Seeing us, one of the men said : — 

" Verily proverbs are ever true ! Do not we 
say : * Mote il 'Hameer faraj lal klaab — The 
death of donkeys is providential for dogs ? ' 
Look, they are following us already." 

They dragged the dead ass beyond the city 




By permission of The American Colony Photographers, Jerusalem 

A Street in Jerusalem 



AMONGST THE RUBBISH 165 

gates and there, over the dunghill, cast it down. ^ 
For a moment we stood overlooking the deep 
declivity, and behold, at the bottom, were ravens 
and dogs searching for morsels among the bones of 
older skeletons. Down we scampered and began 
to feast on the new carcass. Of course, there 
was plenty for all, making it needless to quarrel. 

With my head all besmeared with blood (no 
wonder the sons of Adam call us unclean ! ) 
I passed back through the city gates and, greeted 
with sticks and stones, ran for my life. At the 
end of a long thoroughfare with a sharp turning 
I came to a place where many busy people were in 
front of food shops and dogs were on every side. 
One bi^ fellow, covered with scars, was lying down 
in front of a shop where a man was cooking pastry 
and putting it on plates. It was the smell of the 
Samn (melted butter) which attracted my atten- 
tion. The well-known odour made me lift my 
nose and sniff the scented air. The man with the 
pastry threw a piece which had fallen on the 
ground in my direction. I pounced upon it, 
whereupon the big dog growled and made a rush 
to deprive me of the tasty morsel. FUght was 
impossible, — I was in a corner ; the only thing 
to do was to back, imploringly, against the wall. 
But at that moment the pastryman cried : — 

" A 'raj ! What are you about ? " 

* Cf. Jeremiah xxii. 19 : " He shall be buried with the 
burial of an ass, drawn and cast beyond the gates of Jerusalem." 



166 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

A 'raj, the Lame One, obeyed and limped back 
to receive his legitimate share. 

At last I had found a man who really loved a 
dog. 



Every day found me outside the shop of the 
good-hearted pastrycook. There I had ample 
opportunity for completing my city education. 
Many were the things which came under my 
observation. I noticed, for instance, that the 
cook's customers were only men, — that no women 
were about the streets, as in the camp. One or 
two I had caught sight of in the houses, but they 
seldom went out and very rarely to the shops. 
Another impressive fact was that A 'raj had 
pointed ears, — a proof that cropping was not gen- 
erally practised in the city. But though many 
dogs had whole ears, there was not one without 
scars. A httle later I learnt how these came. 
One forenoon, when I was sleeping, a band of 
boys came towards me with sticks and stones, 
and as I never suspected mischief, they covered 
my body with blows and wounds. Ever after, 
on the appearance of boys, I got up and ran in the 
opposite direction. 

A 'raj , who was always lying in the neighbourhood 
of his master's shop, was the chief of his quarter. 
Every dog within a hundred yards acknowledged 
him as leader and every bitch almost crawled 



THE DOGS OF JERUSALEM 167 

when he stood up. When a strange dog, on its 
way from the dunghill, passed through the 
pastrycook's street, A'raj would give the signal 
and we would attack him until he was out of 
our region. I discovered from this that each dog 
had his own quarter and kept to it as much as 
possible. 

Not far away was the street where the butchers' 
dogs congregated. One of them I knew and thus, 
under his protection (for I was never very strong 
and nobody ever feared that / should become a 
leader) I visited his home and discovered his mode 
of life. The doorposts and the shelves of the shops 
were all bloody and greasy ; skinned he-goats and 
rams hung outside on hooks ; and the dogs licked 
the blood as it dropped to the ground, or caught 
the pieces of bone as they flew from the butchers' 
wooden blocks. Small indeed was our portion, 
for these greedy dogs, that could never be satisfied, 
would not let us approach.^ 

There was no growing very fat on the little food 
I found here and there. The bare living I found 
was nothing in comparison with my free field 
and camp life. And so, when I slept, I dreamed 
of tents and Kattoosh, of running with Sabe' and 
Beda, and with Ibrak and Hawa. Sometimes I 
would jump up as though jackals were approach- 
ing or distant sounds had broken upon the quietness 
of the camp. How I longed then for the old home ! 

1 Cf. Isaiah Ivi. 11. 



168 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Very often herds of he-goats and rams passed 
through our streets, driven by men who had 
knives in their girdles. Were they shepherds ? 
— thought I. Sometimes they returned, carrying 
dead skinned animals on their shoulders. I 
puzzled over the reason for this strange occurrence. 
One day I determined to follow, and found that, 
instead of driving the animals to the fields, they 
gathered them into a dirty space, strewn with 
bones and horns, soaked with blood, and swarming 
with flies. Then I began to understand. I saw 
the animals bound by their feet, thrown on the 
ground and slaughtered, just as they used to do in 
camp. Only there they killed them one at a time ; 
here, in the city, they slaughtered them by scores. 

Many dogs were congregated at this slaughter- 
ing place. But what strange beasts they were ! 
Not one of them barked at me. I thought that 
they must be dumb ^ and remembered that I had 
once heard someone say, when a dog would not 
move : " He is like the dogs of the slaughtering 
place, wishing for hunger and rest." 

Like them, that day, I ate till I could neither 
move nor bark. But all the time I felt disgusted 
at the myriads of flies and worms, the smell of 
blood, the vultures, and above all at my lazy 
dumb companions with their rough wild fur. 
Once more I yearned for the old life : my play- 
mates the children, the desert, the pure open air, 

1 Cf. Isaiah Ivi. 10. 



IN THE FIELDS 169 

and the clear moonlit nights when we used to bay 
at the great light, thinking that someone was 
approaching with a lantern. And I began to 
ponder over the problem of how to leave the city 
behind me. 

VI 

Once more I followed the rams to the slaughter- 
ing place and once more I passed a day with the 
dumb dogs, licking blood. ^ But not many animals 
were kiUed that day ; those that were spared 
were driven out of the city to the fields. I seized 
my opportunity and followed the man who was 
behind them, — a man with bare legs and certainly 
not of the city. He had looked at me, as I thought, 
compassionately, and had thrown me bread. 
Once he had actually called out, " Ta'o-ta'o ! 
Kss-kss ! " 

What else could I do but run up to him and 
follow at his heels, almost hidden by the dust 
raised by the flock of rams ? 

Oh ! the joy at having once more found some 
one to care for me ! 

The rams were put up in a village and through- 
out the night I ran about the court, barking. In 
the daytime I followed to the pastures. From 
time to time the shepherd fed me, for I soon 
became indispensable. I searched the rocks 
which the flocks passed for hiding jackals or men 
who might be lying in wait to steal the goats 

1 Cf. I. Kings xxii. 38. 



170 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

or lambs. I brought them together when they 
strayed too far from their master. I guarded them 
against the danger of the night. The people 
of the house, who called me Ghareeb, because, to 
them, I was a Stranger, said that I was worth a 
man, — and even more than some men. 

Life in my new home was infinitely more pleas- 
ant than that in the city. Yet I saw little of the 
other dogs about the village, each being attached 
to his own house. Sometimes, however, I met 
my next door neighbour on the refuse-heaps near 
the ovens and played with him. ^ Yes, once more 
I wrestled and romped in the open. But more 
than this, — we received gifts of lumps of bread, 
or dough which had fallen into the ashes, and, 
when the men were absent, were even admitted 
to the houses by the women and fed by their 
hands. On rainy days we entered the warm oven 
building, which is always a part of the house, and 
went to sleep in the warm ashes until dawn. 
When the noise of the mills ceased and the 
women came to bake the bread we crawled out, 
because we did not care to be driven forth, and on 
hearing the footsteps of men or boys we scampered 
away for our lives. The men often kneel down to 
pray on the roof or elsewhere, and on these occa- 
sions are particularly angry with us. I have heard 
them say that we must not on any account be 

1 The Arabs say, when speaking of this or that one's conduct : 
" He is as funny as a dog playing on a dunghill." 



CATS HONOURED 171 

allowed to approach them ; and even when, 
perchance, we have taken a bath, they shun us 
the more, saying that the water dripping from our 
coats soils their praying ground and that for 
" forty yards about a dog it is unclean." Little 
wonder that we are fonder of women than of men ! 
These sons of Adam are indeed curious folk. 
They are fond of cats, who steal their food and are 
never chased as we are. They permit them to lie 
on the skirts of women and children, and, worse 
still, they regard them as holy. Cats catch rats 
and mice and serpents and lizards, which we 
disdain, — and yet they call them holy ! But 
we are unclean and filthy beasts. They even 
believe that a cat will be avenged, saying : " For 
killing a cat there is no pardon." They tell 
stories about Soandso, who became blind for hav- 
ing killed a cat, — about another whose leg was 
broken for having ill-treated a cat. Never, never 
do they speak of the evil which follows on the ill- 
treatment of a dog. And though they know and 
repeat : " The cat has got into the habit of eating 
chickens," all they do when it is at fault is to 
shout : " Out ! cat . . . Barra ! Biss ! " . . . 
Ah ! yes, cats have indeed a good time compared 
to us. They sleep indoors on the mats and on the 
bedding ; they sit by the warm fire ; they eat 
with their masters and mistresses ; they are 
caressed by them and their fur is declared to be 
as soft as silk. 



172 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Have you ever noticed, too, among the Arabs 
that when anyone has shown courage he is com- 
pared to the noble lion, — an animal which they 
know only by name ? Yet they maintain that 
" a Hon remains a lion, though he be brought up 
with dogs, but a dog remains a dog, though he be 
warmed on a golden stove." Certainly we are 
dogs and can never be anything else. 

Another injustice : when a man is not quite 
fair in his dealings, the dog is taken as a com- 
parison. " A dog's tail," they say, " can never 
be straight, though you put it under a hundred 
presses." What has our curved tail to do with 
men's vices ? I believe that if our tails were as 
straight and as stiff as a ruler they would still 
find fault with it. 

One day people of another race and speech^ 
passed through our village. They had dogs with 
collars on, — another unknown thing with us. 
And when we village dogs ran to chase them, they 
hid behind their masters, who even touched and 
caressed them. I wonder how they liked this ? 
When men or women stretch out their hands to 
us it is generally with no good intention, and we 
jump aside as quickly as possible. Only the grey- 
hounds in my old camp were touched and fed by 
the hand of man. They were given just the 
right quantity of food, to hinder them from feeding 

* Europeans. 



"NO VIRTUE IN FASTING" 173 

on carrion ; and their feet were anointed with 
oil before starting on a hunting expedition, so 
that their paws, when pursuing the swift-footed 
gazelles, would not stick in the mud. 

However, notwithstanding all my complaints, 
I have been better off in the village than in the 
city, and though I have had less to eat than in 
my first home, I have spent many happy years 
here. Sometimes the people eat nothing aU 
day, but there is generally plenty for all by night 
time. Of course, dogs are now chosen as a proof 
that there is no virtue for fasting in Ramadan, as 
shown by the saying : " If hungering led to 
Paradise, the dogs would enter first." However 
that may be, the other day I found a bone, and as 
a neighbour's dog came to snatch it away, I jumped 
at his throat and growled in Arabic : " Hathi 
'adem ti-i-i-i-i ! " ^ 

Menacingly, he demanded : " Bakam sharate 
ha-a-a-a-a ! " ^ 

Whereupon, showing my teeth, I barked : 
"Balf! Balf!"3 

Then he ran off, leaving me in peace. 

VII 

I am old now. I can hardly see ; I can hardly 
hear. Like many of my fellow dogs, my barking 

^ " This is my bo-o-o-o-ne ! " 

* " What did you pay fo-o-o-o-r it ? " 

• "A thousand! A thousand!" 
13— (2131) 



174 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

has lost its force. Soon I shall die and be thrown 
over the rocks to decay. Nobody feeds on dead 
dogs ; neither vultures, nor ravens, nor jackals, 
nor those of my own kind. Worms alone nourish 
themselves on our meat and skin. That is the 
reason, perhaps, why we are often spoken of as 
" a dead dog, good for nothing." ^ 

* I. Samuel xxiv. 14. II. Samuel ix. 8 ; xvi. 9. 



X 

CREATURES IN COUNCIL 

I 

When Allah created the animals, He gathered 
them all into one place, and an angel of the 
Azizis, seated next to his throne, was commanded 
to assign particular regions to them, with meat 
specially adapted to their requirements. This 
arrangement suited aU the beasts of the field and 
the birds of the air very well indeed, with the 
single exception of the serpent, who put in a claim 
to Adam that he had a right to feed on human 
flesh and blood. Adam replied that he must 
have a year in which to reflect, and promised that 
at the end of this time he would give his answer 
at a great congress to which all animals should be 
invited. 

Whether this, interview took place before or 
after Adam's expulsion from Paradise is unknown, 
so far back does it date in the history of the world. 
But very probably it must be placed after the 
Fall, when Adam's wisdom was on the decline. 
Otherwise, would he have been so fooHsh as to 
commission the mosquito to test the blood of all 
living creatures and report thereon ? Naturally, 
that wicked insect found that human blood was 

175 



176 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

best. However, Adam had a friend in the 
swallow. Whilst the mosquito was on its way to 
the congress, the faithful bird, which, through 
its annual visits to the Kaaba, knew man's 
religious feelings and sympathised with him, 
discreetly followed and, ere the insect reached its 
destination, pounced down upon it and nipped off 
so large a part of its tongue that its voice became 
a sharp and vicious buzz. As the mosquito was 
unable to express itself in a comprehensive 
manner, the swallow offered its services as inter- 
preter, and declared that the report was " Frogs." 
And that is the reason why, to this day, serpents 
feed on those amphibians. 

Such was the principal question decided at the 
first animals' congress in Palestine. It was a 
long time before a second one was held — not, 
indeed, until just before the Deluge, when Noah 
was confronted with the problem of the preserva- 
tion of species. Century after century passed 
without there being any necessity for a fresh 
re-union. But at last the day came when the 
third congress had to be called, this time by the 
creatures themselves, for they wished to discuss 
the wrongs which had arisen through man's 
ignorance of animal welfare, besides certain other 
private questions. The organisers unanimously 
agreed that for once man must be excluded from 
their councils. 

Abu Sliman, the fox, who had gathered more 



AT MEROM 177 

documents together than anyone else, and who 
knew the country better than even man himself, 
thought that the best place for the meeting would 
be the shrubby marches of El ^Huleh, in the 
extreme north of Palestine, where all the delegates 
would be able to find good shelter and plenty of 
appropriate food. Adam's sons seldom ventured 
into the thicket for any length of time, and when 
they did they always retired at night time. All 
that the delegates would have to be careful of 
doing was to keep quiet during the day ; then 
their presence would not even be suspected. 
El 'Huleh, therefore, was chosen, and Tell-el-Kadi, 
the seat of the Judge, and the place where Dan 
had lived of old was selected as the exact spot 
for the important gathering. 

Abu Sliman, in the course of his speech to his 
collaborators, went on to say that there was no 
need to waste time over discussing the question 
of a chairman. Abu Tasba', the lion, had long 
been acknowledged to be King of the Beasts, and 
though he did not live in Palestine he could no 
doubt be found without much difficulty on the 
frontiers of Arabia. Let their swiftest messenger, 
Abu Tansar, the white-headed vulture, be sent 
to offer him the presidency of the Council. 

So the King of the Birds ^ flew away in a straight 
line across the desert to the jungle of the Euphrates. 
Cautiously soaring in big circles above the banks 

^ As acknowledged by Solomon (Palestine Folk-lore). 



178 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

of the river, he searched and searched until at 
last he found the lair of Abu Tasba'. Swooping to 
earth, he dehvered the invitation. Abu Tasba' 
did not take long to decide ; so great a recognition 
of his strength could not meet with a cold refusal ; 
he accepted with a roar of delight and announced 
his intention of starting for El 'Huleh imme- 
diately. Only, Abu Tansar must lend him his 
aid as an aerial scout, and enable him to avoid 
camps and inhabited places, if he were to reach 
his destination quickly and safely. 

Meanwhile, Snoonoo, the swift, sped from 
village to village and from mountain to mountain, 
inviting delegates from all the domestic animals 
to the congress, during the sittings of which it 
was thoroughly understood no one should be 
molested. Food in abundance was held forth 
as an inducement to all to come. The marshes of 
El 'Huleh — an ideal oasis — were not only full of 
juicy plants for the vegetarians, there were large 
herds for the carnivorous animals, fish for the 
king-fishers and divers, myriads of insects for the 
birds, and a multitude of minor animals for the 
reptiles. 

II 

It was a clear moonHght evening when the 
congress met — the most favourable time that 
could have been chosen, as some of the delegates 
would have been quite at a loss on a dark night, 
and daylight would have been equally troublesome 




v-^^'^. ■'^ 






<i-> 
-^ 










-ANIMAL KINGS 179 

to others. The Ghawarneh Bedawin having 
retired for the night with their cattle, the members 
— previously advised by the soft-footed mouse, 
the silently flitting bat and other envoys, to make 
as little noise as possible — quietly dropped in one 
by one. 

Leaning against the bole of a gigantic oak, the 
King of Trees, sat Abu Tasba^, the King of Beasts, 
with Abu Tansar, the King of Birds, and all his 
court perched in the majestic branches — an 
arrangement said to be due to Abu Sliman. Abu 
Dib, the brown bear of Lebanon, rolled in with 
an apology. He explained that, being a citizen 
of Djebel-esh-Sheikh, the cold region assigned to 
him by the Azizis, he came as an outsider, but he 
would retire as soon as possible, as he could not 
easily support the heat of El Ghor. Abu Tanmar 
the slender leopard, glided in so noiselessly that 
no one would have noticed him had it not been 
for his spots. Abu Madba*, the lean, striped 
hyaena, . came heavily into view, gave a hungry 
malicious look at the domestic animals and, 
feigning friendship, went to lie down near a fine 
ass. Abu Ser'han, the solitary wolf, slinked in at 
dusk, looking quite innocent and feeling contented 
with all the world, for he had just fed on a lamb 
outside the truce boundaries. Abu |Sheeby, the 
yellow cheetah, silently followed in his footsteps. 
Pricking up his hairy ears, Abu Fahed, the round- 
headed lynx, silently took his place, amidst a 



180 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

murmur of admiration and sundry remarks regard- 
ing his resemblance to a cat, near the grandees of 
the quadrupeds. Next came Abu-1-E*hseine, the 
jackal, with a very indifferent call, for he was 
replete through feeding on the carcass of a buffalo. 
In his rear walked the lesser friends : wild cats, 
martens, ichneumons and porcupines with clatter- 
ing quills, closely followed by hedgehogs, moles, 
rats and, last of all, Abu Ghirreh, the circular 
badger, resembling, as it crawled forward on its 
low legs, a moving cushion. Abu Sliman, the 
acting secretary, introduced the domestic animals. 
There were strong camels of the 'Hauran and the 
mountains of Ephraim, lean ones, too, from the 
south of the Dead Sea ; a slender-footed Hajeen 
(dromedary), which carried the mail through the 
sandy wastes of Palestine ; the fiery horses of the 
Bedawin, and a heavy Kedeesh, an animal for 
rough work at the mill or on the road ; mules and 
donkeys ; cows, oxen and buffaloes ; sheep and 
goats. After these had taken their places there 
came gazelles and hares from the plains, conies 
and ibexes from the cliffs of Moab, and wild boars 
from the marshes. Great fruit-eating bats and 
other smaller insect-feeders flitted about in the 
moonlight. Most of the feathered friends had, as 
I have already said, gathered hours before around 
Abu Tansar, as with few exceptions, they were 
day birds. Thus, perched on the strong branches 
next to the great vulture, were eagles, buzzards, 



PALESTINE'S ANIMAL KINGDOM 181 

harriers, hawks, kites, falcons and owls. Croaking 
ravens and crows sat on smaller branches, and so 
forth, until, on the topmost boughs of the oak tree, 
little robins and titmice fluttered and chirped. 
Other trees, too, were occupied by delegates. 
On a stately palm was entwined a fine specimen, 
with blood-red neck and brownish body, of the 
Esculap, the representative of numerous harmless 
serpents ; whilst near by was a huge Daboia viper, 
representing six venomous species. Nor must 
I omit to mention the Sheikh of the Haradin 
and the Sheikh of the Chameleons, accompanied 
by a green lizard and a house gecko, who were 
perched on the walls of an adjoining ruin. Absen- 
tees among the 550 specimens of the animal 
kingdom of Palestine were very few indeed. The 
only really important delegate who could not 
come — and he sent a warran to present his excuses 
— was the crocodile, who said he did not dare, 
for numerous reasons, to leave the swamps of the 
Zerka in Sharon. 

At last the voice of Abu Tasba' was heard, 
whereupon all chattering, chirping and fluttering 
ceased. 

" Are all the domestic animals here ? " he 
roared. " For their presence at this particular 
congress is of great importance. I dare say that 
some of the poor slaves of mankind have been 
unable to leave their stables and enclosures. 
However, I am glad to see that we are honoured 



182 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

by the presence of Abu Te'hsen, the horse, Abu 
Baghel, the mule, Abu Ehmar, the donkey, 
Abu Thor, the ox, and Abu Jameel, the camel. 
We are pleased, too, to welcome Abu Klabe, the 
dog, and Bisabis, the cat — late though they be ! " 

Abu Klabe and Bisabis issued into the moon- 
light just at that very moment. They had been 
quarrelling on their way as to which of the two 
was the most useful animal to man. 

" Come now, let us get to business," continued 
Abu Tasba'. ** Abu Sliman, will you read the first 
item on the programme ? " 

" Dispute between Abu Madba*, the hyaena, 
and Baghel, the old mule," read Abu Sliman 
in his most important manner. "In a certain big 
field, full of long grass and very useful for hiding 
in and searching for food, Baghel was appro- 
priating everything to his own use. Now, the 
field belongs to everyone. So a delegation, 
composed of Abu Tanmar, Abu Ser'han, Abu 
Fahed, Abu-1-Ehseine and your humble servant, 
was sent to find out by whose permission Baghel 
ate most of the grass and spoilt the appearance 
of the remainder. Baghel insolently replied that 
he acted perfectly within his rights, and that, 
when and where we liked, he could show us the 
firman he had received from his superior." 

" Very good ! " exclaimed Abu Tasba'. " We 
must settle this matter without delay. What 
have you got to say in your defence, Abu Baghel ? " 



A CONVINCING FIRMAN 183 

** Exactly what I told the delegation," replied 
the old mule, confidently. "It is quite true 
that I possess a written firman given me by the 
Dispenser of all Good Things, the Owner of the 
Universe, and written in very fine and subtle 
letters. If it is correct, as Abu Madba* states, 
that he is a scholar and can read, let him come 
near to me, and, in the presence of the assembly, 
prove his ability. I will say no more, save that 
Abu Madba' is an old sorcerer who, being unable 
to eat grass himself, is full of jealousy and wishes 
to see me condemned to death." 

"A very straightforward reply," said the Chair- 
man. " Very well, show him the firman and let 
us get to more serious business." 

" As I have no pockets in which to keep the 
document," explained Abu Baghel, as the hyaena 
approached, " I have hidden it under one of my 
hind hoofs." 

And with these words he lifted up one of his 
hoofs. 

" I cannot see anything," said Abu Madba*. 

" Didn't I tell you," replied the old mule, 
" that the firman is written in very fine characters ? 
How can you expect to see it at that distance, 
and in such a poor light too ? Draw near and then 
you'll be convinced." 

The hyaena came nearer. 

" Whew ! " exclaimed Baghel, aiming well and 
kicking with all his might when he considered his 



184 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

adversary was close enough. ** If that doesn't 
convince you nothing will ! " 

The blow alighted on Abu Madba"s nose, and 
sent him rolUng, senseless, a dozen yards away. 

Whereupon there arose such a yelling and a 
shrieking, such a bellowing and a croaking, such 
a grunting and a snorting, such a neighing and a 
braying, such a hissing and a whizzing as had 
never been heard before at one spot. It seemed 
as though the very trees and bushes had joined 
in the laughter at the most striking proof of the 
accuracy of a firman ever given. 

Abu Sliman was the only one who kept his head. 
Conscious of the importance of his position as 
chief organiser of the congress, and its secretary, 
he did his best to call the delegates to order. But 
it was some minutes before he could make himself 
heard. 

" Yawlat, yawlat ! — Children, children ! " he 
at last succeeded in saying. ** I beg of you to be 
prudent. Man may be about and spoil all our 
plans. ... I think we may unanimously decide 
that Abu Baghel has fully made out his case. 
So we wiU pass to the next question. I have a 
very important document, signed by a well-known 
delegate, to read to you and would beg you to give 
me your most earnest attention." 

But it was some time before the hilarity wholly 
subsided and there was complete silence. At 
last he began to read, as follows: — 



ANIMAL PLACE NAMES 185 

" Sons of Adam sneer at us, chase us and call 
us names. Sometimes they are right but very, 
very often they are wrong in their appreciations. 
Besides, they are often guilty of ill-treating our 
friends, the domestic animals, who so rarely revolt 
against them. Who has not heard the story of 
* Lail,' — an excellent instance of the ungrateful 
manner in which the sons of Adam treat their 
most faithful friend the dog ? But others could 
tell equally striking stories of cruelty and neglect. 
Now, as citizens of Palestine — citizens before 
man was created here — we are ready to protest. 
But let everyone do it for himself. My purpose 
at present is to point out how very much men are 
dependent upon us. They require not only our 
services but very often our names, to designate 
their abodes, properties, hills, springs and so forth. 
Here are a few instances in which sites have been 
named after us. There are 

three for leopards, as Nimrin, etc. ; 

three for hyaenas, as Wad-ed Dab 'a, etc. ; 

three for camels, as Beit-ej-Jmal, etc. ; 

three for boars, as Wad-el-Khanzeer, etc. ; 

four for sparrows, as Ain-el-'Asafeer, etc. ; 

three for bees, as Khirbet Na'hleh, etc. ; 

two for horses, as Nekeb-el-Khale, etc. ; 

two for ibexes, as Ain-Jiddy and Wad-el- 
Bedoon ; 

two for vultures, as 'Ebr-en-Nisr, etc. ; 

two for serpents, as Ain-el-Hayeh, etc. ; 



186 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

two for flies, as Dair-Dubban, etc. ; 

one for the buffalo, as Birket-ej-Jamoos ; 

one for the crocodile, as Nahr-et-Tamsa'h ; 

two for dogs, as Nahr-el-Kalb, etc. ; 

one for the gazelle, as *Ain Ghazaleh ; 

one for the wolf, as Khalet-eth-Theeb ; 

one for the jackal, as J urn-el- Wawy ; 

one for the fox, as Tell-el-Ehseiny ; 

one for the badger, as Abu-1-Ghrair ; 

one for the donkey, as Beni Ehmar ; 

one for the coney, as Khirbet el-Wabar ; 

one for the partridge, as *Ain-esh-Shananeer ; 
and 

one for the fleas, as Nahr Barghut. 
There is also Khirbet-el- Assad, the Lion's Ruin. 
But there is a difference between this and the 
names I have cited. These names all point to 
ancient sites which once existed in the vicinity 
of their modern representatives, whereas the 
name of the lion is generally used as a mere badge. 
Humans employed the lion's name as an emblem 
of strength ; and his image — graven images being 
forbidden — is the only one they will permit. 
Thus, we have Uons* images at the Gate of El Kuds, 
on the bridge near Lydda, on old temples in the 
Hauran, and elsewhere, just as in the days of 
Solomon, who had them sculptured on his 
throne."! 

Abu Tasba* here interrupted the speaker with 

» II, Chronicles ix. 18-19. 



ANIMAL FABLES 187 

the remark that this was all heraldry. But it 
was a fact that there was no definite locality known 
for lions. 

Whereupon Abu Sliman, continuing the dele- 
gate's dissertation, read -some old passages 
concerning old and young lions. ^ 

** Looks very much like the Euphrates region," 
remarked Abu Tasba'. 

" Then a certain judge named Samson," con- 
tinued Abu SUman, ** killed a lion in Philistia with 
his staff and took honey from its body." ^ 

*' Nonsense ! " exclaimed the Chairman. ** Who 
ever heard of a lion being killed with a staff, or of 
bees building in a carcass ? That writer never 
studied nature." 

" Once upon a time, too, an Ash Allheem, ^ who 
came from Bethel, was kiUed by a lion and left 
by the roadside with his ass ; and both beasts 
stood by the carcass contemplating it for 
hours." * 

" This is sheer lunacy," growled Abu Tasba*. 
" The writer who recorded that incident had 
never seen a hon in his life, otherwise he would 
have known that when we kill a warm-blooded 
being we carry it away and eat it." 

" There is a story of a prophet who was cast 
by a king' into a den of lions." ^ 

" Ah ! I can vouch for that," said the lion. 

^ Job iv. 10 ; xxviii. 8. =» Judges xiv. 8. 

» Dervish. * I. Kings xiii. 24. ^ Daniel vi. 16. 



188 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

" It happened in my own country. Kings always 
capture lions." 

'* Then there was a young shepherd, David, 
in the wilderness of Judaea, who smote a lion and 
a bear, and took a lamb out of their mouths." ^ 

Here both Abu Tasba' and Abu Dib roared and 
growled so terribly that Abu SUman, thinking his 
last moment had come, shpped away into the 
bushes. 

" How can I help what has been written ? " 
he cried piteously. " I am but your most humble 
servant." 

But it took some time for the anger of the Hon 
and the bear to subside. Both were on their feet 
together, loudly protesting against the statements 
of holy Scripture. Presuming that they had been 
able to live in the arid desert in question, they 
would each, they said, have taken a lamb and 
gone in opposite directions ; and the shepherd 
boy would have had his work cut out to track 
them. 

The clash of their two voices became so great 
at last that Abu Tasba*, in a towering passion, 
roared to the bear : 

*' Order ! Order ! Abu Dib ! Wait until it is 
your turn to speak. . . . Let me say that this 
fairy tale is not worth discussing. But I should 
like to observe that lions, as a rule, do not care 
a scrap for man's opinions and beliefs. Nor do 

1 I. Samuel xvii. 24. 



STRANGE BIBLE STORIES 189 

they choose between beUevers and unbelievers 
when they are hungry — it is all one to them 
whether their prey believe in the gods of the 
land or not." ^ 

" Permit me to remark," said Abu Dib, timidly, 
when the Chairman had sat down, " that perhaps 
the scribe did not know the difference between 
the Dib and the Thib. Our friend the wolf was 
probably meant. Judaea and lambs are certainly 
better known to him than they are to us. . . . 
As to the tearing to pieces of forty-two children 
by two Im-Debbab (she-bears) because they made 
fun of the bald head of an old Dervish, ^ J again 
protest. Maybe a ravenous wolf would kill 
children, but never a bear. We occasionally carry 
off a kid or a calf, but never can we take two. 
Moreover, I agree with our powerful and respected 
brother Abu Tasba* that we do not put forth our 
strength especially for man's sake. May I ask 
the author of this learned communication whether 
humans have recorded the names of the Dib in 
their writings ? " 

" No," replied Abu Sliman, who had ventured 
back to his place. " Neither in their old, nor in 
their new lists, do we find them." 

On hearing which Abu Dib, with a final growl 
of indignation, sat down. 

Many of the other delegates heard with satis- 
faction that their names were known in the Bible. 

1 II. Kings xvii, 25. 2 n. Kings u. 23-24. 

14— (2131) 



190 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

There was Beth Nimreh ^ standing for leopards ; 
Zeboim, 2 as ancient as history, for the hyaena, 
who was still busily rubbing his poor bruised nose ; 
Zeeb, ^ changed into the modern Thib, for Abu 
Serhan's ancestors; Engedi/ where the ibex 
still tumbles over the rocks ; besides many 
others. 

As Abu Shman had by now come to the end of 
the document he had been asked to read to the 
congress, Abu-1-ETiseine, in his turn, stepped forth 
and said that but for himself and the suffering 
Abu Madba' the sons of Adam would assuredly 
die of pestilence. Were they not instrumental 
in clearing away the dead animals which humans 
carelessly threw around their habitations ? Instead 
of being thankful for this valuable work — and at 
the word thankful Abu Sliman sneered, and 
murmured cynically, ** Adam's sons do not even 
show thankfulness to each other " — they called 
them false names, such as Wawy and Abu-1- 
Fataiess, the Howler and Father of Carcasses. 

** Suppose we strike for a few weeks," con- 
cluded the jackal, amidst almost universal mur- 
murs of approval, ** and see how they would get 
along alone." 

And with these words, as the light of the moon 
was failing, the first sitting of the congress came 
to an end. 

1 Numbers xxxii. 36. • Genesis x. 19. 

• Judges vii. 25. * Joshua xv. 62. 



CAMEL AND HORSE . 191 

III 

On the following evening it was the domestic 
animals' turn to have their say. 

"Abu Jameel," said the lion, addressing the 
camel, " have you any complaint to make against 
Inns ? " 1 

" No/' said the camel. "It is true that they 
put heavy loads upon my back, but I can easily 
carry them. They are rather solicitous of my 
welfare than otherwise. They feed me on pre- 
pared Kersanne, 2 and, in Rabee, anoint my skin 
with oil and sulphur to cure the Jarrab, ^ which 
I have contracted from another. Occasionally 
they strike me, or pull my jaws with the Karrasat, * 
but I take my revenge in the spring, when the 
Hadr^ makes me lively. Let any man come too 
near me and I dart at him so swiftly that he is 
frightened out of his wits. But we are soon good 
friends again." 

Nor had Abu Ihsane, the bay horse, any com- 
plaints to make against his Bedawin masters. 
He rather liked the Ghazu, and even should he 
fall in battle it was a more dignified death than 
the one awaiting his cousin the Kedeesh, who, 
after having turned Byarat® in the gardens, or 
carried loads which often wounded him, was 
abandoned to find a living for himself — a very 
difficult matter for one who was not accustomed 

* Humans. 2 Vetches. ' Itch. 

* Camel bridle. ^ gad temper. * Water wheels. 



192 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

to do so from youth, as wild animals are. His 
fate is to pine away and die and be devoured by 
dogs, jackals and hyaenas. 

A general murmur against Inns followed this 
communication. But Abu Ihsane continued : — 

" I am of the Abeyan race, my silky mane keeps 
insects away, my well-furnished tail helps to brush 
flies from my body, full of the purest blood, 
flowing in protruding veins." (At the mention 
of blood all the carnivorous members of the 
congress lifted their noses and sniffed the air.) 
" I hail from Nejd and Man says that I am of 
divine origin. The Angel Gabriel first rode 
'Heisoon, the divine courser. El Khadr gallops 
above the firmament and produces thunder and 
lightning. My white ancestors were dedicated 
to the sun, ^ and though the first Hebrew invaders 
maimed horses, ^ King Solomon introduced a 
great number,^ and was so much astonished at 
their excellency that he forgot his prayers the 
day he saw them.* The Prophet Mohammed 
chose the original Khamsy^ who accompanied 
him on his expeditions. Therefore these five, 
Abeyan, Saklawy, Julfa, Khalawy, and Marghub, 
are acknowledged to be the only true breeds ; 
and whoever possesses the one or the other con- 
siders himself beyond all riches. On them the 
Arab nation went from Mecca to Seville ; through 

1 II. Kings xxiii. 11. * Joshua xi. 6. » I. Kings iv. 26. 

* Sura xxxviii. 30. ' The Five. 



I 



THE ARAB HORSE 193 

their agency empires have changed hands and 
Islam has covered one-third of the world. We 
are well kept, as sacred as the sun horses, and no 
true Arab will allow us to go into foreign lands. 
The Prophet knew the danger of horses getting 
into the hands of foreigners, who might become 
conquerors like himself. Our home and temple 
is all Arabistan. Has anyone been honoured so 
much by Inns as our race has been ? Has not the 
Prophet, in his enthusiasm, cried: 'The wealth 
of this world is suspended from the tuft of hair 
which hangs on the forehead of your horses until 
Judgment Day ? ' And does not the Bedawin 
lover sing : — 

" ' Rukb el afrass 
Talook el amr§3s 
U takerkib el akhr§,ss 
Yegla' id-dood min er-R4ss.'^ 

Though staUions are presented to foreign princes, 
the mares are kept at home. Let our race remain 
pure and only in Arabia." 

Mules and donkeys were quite content with 
their lot, and even cows and the patient oxen had 
nothing to say. After a day's ploughing with the 
oldest and most primitive instrument, they often 
had rest on rainy days and were fed all the same. 
And with most Fellahin, when thrashing, the old 

* " Riding horses. 
Slackening bridles. 
The tinkling of ear-rings 
Drive away care." 



194 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

law was observed — not to muzzle them while 
treading the sheaves. ^ 

The faithful dog said Lail had told everything. ^ 
But he, personally, had nothing to grumble 
at. 

At this moment a little mouse, whilst intently 
listening, rolled over in front of Bisabis. 
" Allah ! " exclaimed the cat. " Be careful or 
you will be hurt ! " " Thanks,'* replied the mouse. 
" Bass aslam minak ! — If only you do me no 
harm ! " And with these words it climbed into a 
hole out of reach. 

" Birds ! " shouted Abu Tansar, who had now 
become Chairman, to replace the tired Hon, and 
who best understood bird language in the Palestine 
vernacular. " Has anybody anything to say ? 
Storks, swallows, pelicans, hoopoes, turtles are 
all in favour of Beni Adam, as they are considered 
almost sacred by them, so let them be quiet." 

The griffin vulture was the first to show his 
hoary head and said : — 

" King Solomon in all his wisdom spoke to 
birds and blessed our ancestor by laying hands 
on his head, which ever afterwards remained white. 
Therefore we cannot speak ill of the human race, 
though they hunt us for the sake of our bones to 
make Neiy^s. Fortunately, they seldom come 
within our reach, so we have seldom need to 
deplore a victim." 

* Deuteronomy xxi. 4. * See Lail, pp. 153-174. 



SERPENTS PERSECUTED 195 

Abu Ghrab, the raven, declared they were 
persecuted. Inns called them Baine/ so when- 
ever they saw Adam's sons they flew away 
long before they could reach them even with a 
gun. 

The red-faced partridge, which Inns call 
Maka'hal, though they never use Kohl, complained 
that they were treacherously snared at watering- 
places, or with the Bairak on the mountains.* 
" Not satisfied with having subjugated the fowls, 
these greedy sons of Adam seek the small 
satisfaction of capturing us for a dinner." 

In the name of the Rakta and the Raksha, the 
Rabda and the *Hamra, the Barjeel and the 
Za'ara (the Daboia), the shining blue-black 
'Hanash — the Nahash of the Bible and the serpent 
which Moses lifted up in the wilderness — declared 
that man had written all kinds of absurdities 
regarding them. 

" We are falsely accused of being the cause of 
Adam's expulsion from Paradise. We are said 
to have had legs and are condemned to walk 
without them. Every man does his best to kill us, 
saying, * II 'Heiyeh wul 'Aseiyeh ! — For the 
serpent take the stick ! ' Because one-seventh of 
all the serpents in Palestine are venomous, we are 
all condemned to death. Naturally we fly for our 
lives whenever man is in the vicinity. We ought 
to be bred rather than persecuted, for we feed on 

1 Unlucky. « I. Samuel xxvi. 20. 



196 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

mice, who destroy the crops, and on rats who 
break into their barns. However, we do our duty 
and yearn not for their gratefulness." 
* * * * 

When the animals left El 'Huleh to return to 
their respective regions they meditated on what 
had been revealed at their great congress. Abu 
Sliman whispered into Abu-1-E'hseine's ear that, 
though many had protested, he thought there 
would be no change in the relations between man 
and the beasts. Adam's sons would continue to be 
kind or brutal as the case might be. ** We shall 
have to take our chance," he declared, "and find 
a living as best we can in this Immovable East. " 



XI 

THE LADY OF HER BRETHREN 

As I sat at the door of a little coffee-house in the 
main street of Lydda, sipping my Moka and 
drawing at the sweet-scented tombak through a 
bubbling narghile, Sit-Ikhwitha, with that haughty 
bearing which I knew so well, came along upon her 
horse. It was years since I had seen the *' Lady 
of her Brethren," but I recognised her at once and 
saw that she still retained her old authority. The 
clatter of her horse's hoofs on the loose stones and 
the musical tinkling of the gold coins on her Burka, ^ 
or half-veil, was the signal for the hushing of 
conversation among the groups of squatting coffee- 
drinkers. Deferential looks met her imperious 
gaze. Salutations denoting profound respect 
(some would have called it fear) greeted her to 
right and left, making her slow and stately ride 
through the town, which was built by the tribe of 
Benjamin, a veritable triumphal march. 

But, though I knew Sit-Ikhwitha and her 
history well, the ** Lady of her Brethren " passed 
me by unnoticed. Years of absence from the 

1 Possibly the veil which was given to Sarah on the borders of 
Egypt because, as a northerner, she had none. Abimelech 
said unto Sarah : " Behold I have given thy brother a thousand 
pieces of silver : behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto 
all that are with thee, and with all other : thus she was reproved." 
— Genesis xx. 16. 

197 



198 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

little Christian and Moslem town had turned me 
into a stranger, unworthy even of a passing 
glance. Apart from looking a little older than 
when I had last seen her, Sit-Ikhwitha alone had 
remained unchanged. 

" The Lady of her Brethren " was a very 
dark-complexioned Egyptian, with thick lips, 
strong jaws and a set of teeth (in spite of her fairly 
advanced age) as white as the snows of Hermon. 
Though certainly not what you would call a pretty 
woman, she was far from being an ugly one. Hers 
was the beauty of perfect health and superb 
physical strength rather than that of form and 
expression. She was over five feet and a half in 
height, and she sat astride her Arab thoroughbred 
like a man, and with all a man's assurance. Indeed 
at a distance, you might easily have mistaken her 
for one, had it not been for her characteristic 
Egyptian dress. The lower part of her face 
was hidden by her Burka, lined with heavy gold 
coins in order to hold the veil down. Her shirt 
(the only piece of clothing she wore at home, 
besides the black silken head-veil which she threw 
over her head and shoulders) was dark blue, and 
over this she had a black and white silk girdle, a 
brown and white striped silk caftan, or long robe 
open in front from the top to the bottom, and, 
finally on the top of these various articles of cloth- 
ing, a black mantle, which, when astride the 
broad saddle of her horse, she threw over her 



SIT-IKHWITHA 199 

knees. Broad silver bracelets ornamented her 
arms, which were bare, as the broad sleeves of 
her cloak only covered them when they were 
hanging down ; and a pair of yellow sheep-skin 
boots completed her out-door costume. 

Yes, the " Lady of her Brethren " was un- 
doubtedly unchanged, both in dress and in manner. 
I could still see her, as of old, speaking in a loud 
voice and gesticulating, so that the coins on her 
Burka, striking each other, kept up a continual 
tinkle. And though, as a rule, she observed the 
Moslem custom of keeping her face covered, I 
could still imagine her, in the fire of conversation 
among men, throwing back her veil and, with a 
commanding expression on her energetic face and 
a blow with her fist on her knee, exclaiming : 
" Wallah ! Awarikum ya kohm el hamleen ! 
— By God ! I will show you, band of cowards ! " 

The story of this remarkable woman is inti- 
mately connected with the Egyptian conquest of 
Palestine, and in relating it we must go back to 
the days of Mehemet Ali. This distinguished man, 
an Albanian by birth, was an officer in the Turkish 
army at the time that it was opposing Bonaparte's 
Egyptian campaign. Three years after the French 
were expelled from Egypt he made his mark and 
was placed at the head of an army corps. Fol- 
lowing with interest the progress of Napoleon I, 
he may be said to have modelled his career on 



200 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

that of the great Corsican. He rose to the rank of 
Pasha of Cairo, and, as all who read history know, 
rid the Pashas of the domination of the Mama- 
lukes. ^ Having become sole master of Egypt, 
Mehemet All's ambition grew and, supported by 
several old Bonapartist ofi&cers, he marched his 
army against his legitimate sovereign, the Sultan 
of Turkey. The Egyptians, under the command 
of his adopted son Ibrahim Pasha, crossed the 
Syrian frontier in 1831. The frightened Fel- 
lahin, led by their great Sheikhs Muhammad el- 
Misleh, Ethman el-Laham, Mustapha Abu-Ghosh 
and others, resisted. But what could their undis- 
ciplined bands do against a well-trained modem 
army ? When Ibrahim Pasha, whose name in 
Palestine has remained synonymous to " hero," 
** great man," and so forth, had conquered the 
country and taken the fortress of Acca (St. 
Jean d'Acre), which had even successfully resisted 
Bonaparte, he established conscription, and in 
order to escape military service thousands of young 
Fellahin courageously mutilated themselves, some 
by pulling out the right eye, or poisoning it, to 
prevent them aiming, others by coldly cutting 
off the right thumb, to make it impossible for them 
to pull the cock of a gun. But Ibrahim was 

1 On May 1st, 1811, Mehemet Ali invited this formidable 
cavalry force to come in full dress to the Citadel of Cairo, and, 
on their arrival, ordered his Albanian soldiers, whom he had hid 
behind the walls, to massacre them to a man. With the exception 
of Amin Bey, who is said to have succeeded in escaping on his 
horse, they were all shot down by the musketry. 



EGYPTIAN COLONIES 201 

not the man to be frustrated. " These boys are 
true heroes/' he said. " They are more cour- 
ageous than my own Egyptians. I shall enroll 
them in my service." And so he created " one- 
eyed squadrons " and " thumbless battalions." 

As in the case of every invading army, bands of 
merchants, hawkers and others followed in the 
rear of Ibrahim Pasha's troops. And thus to-day 
we find entire villages of Egyptians all along the 
plains of the Philistines, from the river of Egypt to 
Jaffa, — descendants of those of 1831, and who 
continue unmixed. A Fellah of Palestine will 
never consent to give his pure-bred Palestine 
daughter to an Egyptian. " Ehna Fellahin u 
humme Masriean ! — We are Fellahin and they 
are Egyptians ! " he will say, with a sneer, on 
receiving such a proposal. The differences between 
the two races are too great to make inter-marriages 
possible. The Egyptians have semi-Ethiopian 
features, — thicker, slightly flattened noses, and 
are of a much darker colour. The FeUaha has a 
white head-veil, but the face is bare and her blue 
shirt is of a Ughter colour than the dark-blue one 
of the Egyptian. The Egyptian wears the Burka, 
hanging down from the forehead, covering the 
nose, mouth, and upper part of the cheeks, 
chin and neck, but leaving the eyes and forehead 
free. 

Now, in the service of Ibrahim Pasha were 
several young soldiers of one family, and with 



202 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

them their parents and an only daughter. The 
girl, Nasra, had been brought up among boys, 
possessed many boyish characteristics, and, as her 
name indicated, was destined to be " victorious." 
Remarkably self-willed, she commanded her 
brothers every bit as much as her parents did, 
and consequently came to be known by those of 
her race as Sit-Ikhwitha, — the ** Lady of her 
Brethren." 

As the Egyptian soldiers camped and decamped 
on the long way through the desert from Egypt 
to Palestine and all along the hostile country, 
Nasra' s masculine and authoritative character 
became still more pronounced. She used to 
accompany the horsemen when they went to water 
their horses and to execute commissions for which 
she was Hberally rewarded. Always awake when- 
ever a Bedawi attack was expected, she did not 
hesitate even to seize a spare rifle and rush towards 
the enemy. More than once had she largely con- 
tributed towards the saving of lives and on at 
least two occasions she had been instrumental in 
rescuing the treasure of war, which was kept 
in a wooden safe in the midst of the camp. In 
recognition of these services, Nasra had received 
the compliments of the commanding officer and 
thus had become known to aU. The officers 
especially had cast glances in the direction of the 
courageous, well-developed, dark-eyed girl of 
fifteen. One of them, bolder than the rest, 



A COURAGEOUS GIRL 203 

ventured, one day, on flirting with her. But he 
never tried again. 

" How dare you ! " cried Nasra. " Ya ebn 
el Kalb ! Oh ! son of a dog ! . . . Shall I 
denounce you ? " 

The oflicer, fearing for his life, since such 
mistakes are often punished by death, implored 
for pardon. 

" I meant not any dishonesty," he cried. 
" Imshi doughri ! Walk straight, and no one will 
insult you." 

The incident leaked out and henceforth Nasra 
could move about the camp without being 
molested, either by deed or by word or even by a 
look. This was one of her earliest victories, and 
it led her not only to a position of greater authority 
but, later, to wealth. 

Nasra, the ** Victorious," the " Lady of her 
Brethren," was ambitious. She had dreams of 
becoming rich and a commander of men. Many 
a time, during the quiet hours of the night, whilst 
everyone in the camp, save the sentinels, was deep 
in slumber, had she let her thoughts revolve 
around the future. Young in years, she was old 
in experience and cupidity. One night, shortly 
after the last occasion on which her vigilance had 
resulted in the saving of the war-chest, temptation 
stole upon her. How considerable, she thought, 
must be the treasure of war and how powerful would 
be the person who possessed such wealth as that ! 



204 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Ah ! if only she could say that it was hers ! . . . 
But, in a sense, was it not hers ? — since it had more 
than once been rescued from the hands of the 
enemy through her foresight and bravery ? Then 
a plan struck her. 

She chose the time for the carrying out of her 
daring project well. The army had moved out 
of the dangerous Bedawi zone and was encamped 
just off Sar'ah, the Zorah of the Bible, ^ near the 
mountains of Judah. Officers and soldiers felt 
that they had no longer much to fear from the 
enemy ; they could afford, now, to relax their 
attention a little. The camp fires had died out 
and the moon had set behind the blue waters of 
the Mediterranean. A slight east wind was blow- 
ing and in the stillness of the night the fields of 
Dura murmured incessantly. It was a peculiar 
sound, caused by the striking together of the heavy 
ears of the Syrian millet, resembhng Indian corn, 
and the rubbing together of the plants' broad 
leaves, and it bore a certain likeness to that of 
men stealthily approaching the camp. Nasra, 
who had made aU her preparations, aroused the 
camp and declared that she had distinctly heard, 
in a certain direction, the sound of the enemy's 
footsteps. Officers and men went in pursuit 
of the phantom Bedawin, but after a time the 
fields of Dura were declared to be the cause of the 
false alarm, and, laughing over their empty fears, 

* Joshua xix. 41. 



ISRAELITIC TOMB-CAVES 205 

they returned to the camp. Soon everyone, save 
Nasra and her brothers, who were acting as senti- 
nels that night around the treasure of war, and 
whom she had easily persuaded to become her 
accomplices, was once more deep in slumber. 
Slipping out of her tent into the darkness, the 
'* Lady of her Brethren " drew near to the coveted 
treasure and had the safe quietly carried into a 
tomb cave on the slopes of a neighbouring hill. ^ 
Then, when she and her accomplices had returned 
to the camp and had again taken their places, 
she gave the alarm for the second time. Slightly 
striking one of her brothers, who fell, as though 
stunned, to the ground, she cried out, like Delilah 
did in the case of Samson i^ " El-kohm — 
'aleina ! Jai ya naas jai ! — The enemy are 
upon us ! Come here, oh people ! " The sol- 
diers rushed out of their tents towards the safe, 
but the treasure was gone and the sentinel appa- 
rently lifeless. With Nasra at their head, they 
rushed into the darkness in the direction of Wady- 
Ali, whence she declared she had seen the enemy 
carrying off the war-chest. Others went in the 

^ These tomb -caves date from the days of the IsraeUtes and 
are hewn out in the slopes of the hills. The natives of the district 
avoid them, or rather did so in the days to which this narrative 
applies. Of recent years they have all been visited by searchers 
after antiquities, and tombs which had been unviolated for thou- 
sands of years have now been opened in search of spoil. Sit- 
Ikhwitha well knew that such a tomb as she had chosen would be 
avoided by the superstitious soldiers of Ibrahim Pasha's army. 

2 " The Philistines be upon thee, Samson," — Judges xvi. 
9, 12, 14 and 20. 

IS— (al3l) 



206 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

direction of Yalo (Ajalon). But by daybreak 
the futile pursuit was abandoned. 

Thus did the " Lady of her Brethren," who 
continued for several months longer in the rear 
of the Egyptian army, lay the foundations of her 
fortune. She finally settled down in Lydda, the 
principal town of the plain, and there, with her 
parents, went in for commerce. This gave her 
an opportunity of rising to the position to which 
she aspired. Out of the hidden safe in the 
Israelitic tomb, known to her and her brothers 
only, she obtained money, with which she bought, 
first a small house, and then a field. Wisely, she 
abstained from suddenly becoming rich. But as 
the years went by her wealth and power gradu- 
ally increased, and when I first came to know 
her she was the owner of houses and lands all 
over Lydda and district. 

When the brothers of Sit-Ikhwitha had con- 
cluded their mihtary service in the Egyptian army 
and Ibrahim Pasha, in 1841, had withdrawn his 
troops from Palestine, they also remained in 
Lydda and, under her sway, became influential 
people. She married an Egyptian and had chil- 
dren. But the very names of her husband, off- 
spring and relatives were unknown to the general 
pubhc. They were always spoken of as the " hus- 
band of Sit-Ikhwitha," the " son of Sit-Ikhwitha," 
the " brother of Sit-Ikhwitha " — she alone counted 



A MODERN DEBORAH 207 

in Lydda and district. As with Deborah and the 
children of Israel, ideas contrary to her were 
never uttered. ^ Even the Governor of Lydda, on 
meeting her riding on her thoroughbred, as on the 
day when I saw her passing through the main 
street of the town, had to greet her reverently and 
often to obey her if, imperiously, she claimed 
this or that favour. 

* Judges V. 7. 



XII 

TAX-GATHERING IN NIMRIN 

Nablus, in Samaria, — the Roman Neapolis and, 
in part at least, the ancient Shechem, — is too 
well known to need more than a brief reference to 
its well-built houses, its fine situation and its fair 
circle of gardens. Lying between the twin moun- 
tains Ebal and Gerizim (on which the few remaining 
Samaritan Jews — some 150 in all and the smallest 
religious sect in the world — possess an old temple), 
the town is exceptionally well watered and the 
seat of a Pashalic. In the early eighties of the 
last century the Pasha's authority extended to the 
left shore of the Jordan valley, where the turbulent 
Bedawin tribes congregated, and even as far as the 
Dead Sea. But his jurisdiction was merely nomi- 
nal and he found it not at all easy to levy taxes. 
In those days the tax-gatherers generally set 
forth to claim their due with the Pasha himself 
and a strong escort of soldiers. 

Now, at the time of my story, Khurshud Pasha 
had in vain asked for the taxes of the Aduan, the 
wildest tribe in Nimrin. So he decided to go him- 
self and gather what he could. Advised of his 
visit. Sheikh Ali el-Thiab, accompanied by two 
hundred Bedawin horsemen, royally came to the 
Forth of Jordan to meet the government official. 
Seeing this formidable body and realising that his 
hundred soldiers were at its mercy, Khurshud 

208 






A NOISY RECEPTION 209 



asha immediately became extremely polite, — 
and his politeness tended to increase rather than 
decrease when Sheikh AU ordered his warriors 
to gallop up and down in front of the visitor and 
fire salutes in his honour. The Bedawin fired 
their guns so near that the sparks almost flew 
into the Pasha's face and so long did they con- 
tinue that at last the official begged Ali to order 
them to cease. But the Sheikh, as he called out 
to his personal attendants ** to receive and dis- 
mount the horseman — ' Howlu il Khayal ! " — 
assured his guest that they were so honoured by 
his visit that really they could not cease firing 
for joy. So, amidst the continuous discharge of 
firearms, Khurshud Pasha entered Ali's big black 
hair tent, all lined with silk from the market of 
Damascus, and sat down on the silken cushions 
which had been spread for him on the home-made 
many-coloured carpet of long sheep's wool. He 
tried to speak but could not make himself heard 
because of the din. Coffee was prepared and 
ceremoniously handed to the honoured visitor, 
and all the time the firing continued, both in and 
outside the tent. At last, boiling over with 
indignation, but without showing it too much, the 
Pasha hurriedly drank his coffee and started off 
again, accompanied by Ali's noisy followers until, 
just before nightfall, he had safely reached the 
Jordan. The fierce Bedawin then wished him 
" God's protection — Fi 'Haffad Allah ! " — and 



210 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

galloped off into the gathering darkness, still 
discharging their carabines, pistols and flint-lock 
rifles and howling with joy. 

For some time after this episode the Aduan could 
do without visiting the towns. But they require 
more than wheat and meat, which is plentiful 
in their camps especially after the harvest. By 
two or three minor Ghazu, they had obtained a few 
camels and tents, but that was about all. They 
badly needed to renew their clothes and boots 
at the only market accessible to them, — that at 
Nablus. So Ali el-Thiab and his warriors were 
very glad when Khurshud Pasha invited them to 
return his visit and bring a few taxes with them. 
The Bedawi chief promptly seized the opportunity 
and started for Nablus with two hundred and fifty 
horsemen, most of them fully equipped. But the 
Shaale (black mantles) of many of them were much 
the worse for wear ; their flowing head-cloths 
(Kafiye) would hardly have been decent but for 
the very nice home-made 'Agaal, or head-cords, 
which, tressed by their own women of camel's 
heiir, held the Kafiy6 in place ; their white shirts 
were in the poorest condition ; whilst their shoes 
and boots — in which every Bedawi Khayal (horse- 
man) takes a pride — were in nearly every case 
quite worn out. Their weapons, however, were 
in proper order ; — trust the Aduan for that ! 
Muskets, pistols, swords and lances glittered in 
the morning sun as they approached the Jordan. 



"GOD WILL PROVIDE" 211 

What matter if their clothes were shabby so long 
as their arms were bright and ready to their 
hand ? They would soon, they told themselves, 
be in the bazaar at Nablus, where silk, sheeting, 
red and yellow boots, and everything for the 
renewal of a dilapidated wardrobe could be had 
by paying for it. It is true that at that moment 
they were without money with which to buy all the 
fine Damascus wares they would see. But were 
there no money-lenders, willing to advance money 
at fifty or a hundred per cent. ? — A Bedawi will 
put his hand to any bond when he is in need of 
ready cash ; for he is a firm beUever that when 
the harvest comes " God will provide, — Bif ridge 
Allah ! " — FiUed with this spirit, and thinking of the 
precious things they would buy, a group of AU's 
men began to sing an Aduan war song, beginning : — 

" Ya Muhur, la alweek leyaat 
Yohm il Khail il 'arak 
Wayohm naquel el-mazareek 
In maalat il-ma'aref."^ 

The last verse had no sooner been sung than 
another group, still more enthusiastic and full of 
confidence in its might, continued: — 

" Bi alfain wuUa thalathe 
Min khaf il'Arab yelamlam 
Fi Shoor wuUa Khabathe."^ 

* " My foal, I'll twist you round and round, 

^^en all horses are engaged in battle ; 

On the day when lances are borne 

And manes are wildly flying." 
2 " Two or three thousand are grouped ; 

The Arabs have gathered. 

Is it for war, or trickery ? " 



212 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

On hearing of their approaching arrival, Khur- 
shud Pasha made stables ready for the horses 
of the Shiukh (chiefs) ; those of the others were 
camped in the oUve yards around the walls of the 
town. By no means at his ease, owing to the 
number of his guests and their warlike appearance, 
he made a point of receiving Ah el-Thiab with 
great cordiality, and of treating his men right 
royally. Sheep and lambs were butchered without 
end. Nor was Ali behindhand as regards courtesy, 
— he had brought presents with him for the Pasha : 
a beautiful young horse of the famous K'hailet 
pedigree and a fine camel. The Aduan were well 
contented with the reception accorded them and 
soon the streets of Nablus were animated with 
purchasers and the noise of their trailing arms and 
huge blood-red ironed boots, with blue tassels 
dangling from the tops, as they tramped over the 
uneven pavement. Coffee-houses became filled 
with moka-sipping Bedawin ; Jews and business- 
men were everywhere astir, writing bills for the 
money to be advanced to the eager-eyed sons of 
the desert, who, on seeing the gold coin brought 
out of the safes, would have agreed to any 
percentage. 

When the money had been received and the 
deeds had been stored away, the Harat-el-'Atareen, 
the Apothecaries' or Perfumers' Street, and the 
Harat-el-Khawajaat, the Drapers' Street, were 
especially crowded with customers. Large 




BEDAWIN PRODIGALITY 213 

quantities of perfumery were bought for themselves 
and their wives at home. The narrow streets 
rang with the voices of the shopkeepers, caUing 
to the passers-by that everything was better and 
cheaper than at their neighbours' rival establish- 
ments. In the Harat-el-Halawy, or Sweetmeat 
Street, a crowd of Bedawin waited to be served 
whilst the shopkeepers with enormous knives 
cut big slices of Halawy, a sweetmeat made of 
sesame meal, sesame oil and honey. Long had 
these sugar-loving children of the East been 
deprived of such luxuries. 

In brief, during their three days' sojourn in 
Nablus, there was hardly a man who did not 
spend from £5 to £6 on his own body and nearly 
as much for his family at home. The two who 
spent the least were Sheikh Ali el-Thiab and his 
cousin Gublan, — he who had a great scar on his 
face, the result of a spear wound received in 
battle ; Ali and Gublan were saved the trouble 
of either loosening their purse-strings or signin^^ 
bonds by the liberal-handed Pasha, who heaped 
upon them fine silken gowns, new mantles, 
head-dresses of silk, red boots and that choice 
perfumery of Arabia which has been celebrated 
ever since the days of the Ishmaelites^ and the 
children of Israel. ^ 

At the close of the third day and whilst the 
bazaar was still thronged with purchasers, a 

^ Genesis xxxvii. 25. * Exodus xxxv. 28. 



214 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Bedawi could be heard going round the streets 
" singing the retreat " : — 

" Quees gabel taghees 
Walla linafsak il gaise 
B'aad el farak."i 

enigmatic words to all but the Beda\\an. For, 
unexpectedly, early the next morning, after a 
hasty farewell and^ promise to come again soon, 
the Aduan were in the saddle and on the way back 
to their wild country. Passing over the Plain of 
Salem, where Abraham and Melchizedek met, ^ 
these children of the East unconsciously copied 
their forerunners by feeding their horses on, and 
consuming themselves, whatever they could find 
on their way.^ They descended the Wad-Faria 
till they came to El Ghor, over which they easily 
passed ; then, in groups of thirty to forty, they 
broke into song, as though returning from a 
victorious expedition. Some were singing: — 

" Barudna daraj-daraj 
Wal-khail mafateeh el Faraj 
Barudna Shara 'il dareeb 
Walli yaseebo ma yateeb."* 

1 " Give full measure before you start ; 
Don't be stingy 
At the hour of separation." 

* Genesis xiv. 18. ' Cf. Judges vi. 3-4. 

* " Our fire-arms we carry with us afar ; 
Our horses are the keys to plenty ; 
Our powder is law to the victim. 
Whoever is hit never rises." 




A TURKISH TRAP 215 

Others were chanting such love songs as this: — 

" Ma zainatin gharbi-1 Fareek 
Ya 'Halali soud 'eyounha 
La fout rum'hi wa-1 Farass. 
Ma zini hum ya 'tuba.''^ 

How glad the Fellahin were when the excited horde 
had passed over their lands, leaving at least the 
live-stock untouched ! 

Thus, in triumph, did the Aduan return from 
Nablus to their far-away camp, where the women, 
in expectation of the fine garments that they knew 
were being brought for them, were waiting to 
receive them with songs and ululations. 

The only person who did not feel satisfied was 
Khurshud Pasha. It was not the loss of his 
taxes that troubled him so much as the feeling that 
AU el-Thiab had been playing with him. His 
pride was sorely wounded. So he set to work 
to plan his revenge. But, as becomes a serious son 
of Islam, he determined to be in no hurry. Indeed, 
friendship was re-estabhshed between the two 
chiefs, and Khurshud Pasha even went so far as to 
let the taxes go, until, at last, Ali el-Thiab was 
wholly re-assured. It was then, some two years 
later, that Khurshud Pasha once more invited Ali 
to honour him with a second visit. At the same 
time he quietly distributed a regiment of Turkish 
cavalry in the surrounding villages. 

^ " There is none hke her (for beauty) west of our tribe. 
What a dehght those black eyes ! 
If I were to offer my spear and my mare, 
I'm afraid they'd not give her (in return)." 



216 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

When the Aduan came once more to taste the 
joys of Nablus they were three hundred strong. 
" The more the merrier/* said Khurshud Pasha 
to himself, smiHng in his beard. And as he gave a 
brotherly welcome to Ali el-Thiab, he explained 
that Nablus was too narrow to accommodate so 
many guests. Besides, their beautiful horses 
could be stabled under much better conditions 
if their owners were quartered in the neighbouring 
villages. Ali at once consented to this arrange- 
ment, which was so evidently made with an idea 
of contributing to their comfort. But no sooner 
were the Bedawin installed around the town, with 
their arms deposited behind their horses, than, 
at a given signal, the Pasha's soldiers issued from 
their hiding-places and captured them to a man. 
Khurshud then threw down the mask and told the 
haughty Ali el-Thiab of the fate which awaited 
him. 

" I shall have you and your fellow Shiukh 
(chiefs) taken to Acca to gaol," he said, " and 
with a similar fantazia to that with which you 
greeted me on a certain memorable occasion. 
Your followers shall go in fetters to Damascus 
accompanied by your horses, with which I will 
later decide what is to be done." 

Ali el-Thiab, already a man of about fifty-five 
and accustomed since boyhood to a free open-air 
life, took very badly to prison. He lived, however, 
for two years more, when the redeeming Fin j an 



HUMILIATED BEDAWIN 217 

'Kahwy, the coffee-cup, mysteriously put an end 
to his existence. 

Meanwhile, Khurshud Pasha had inflicted upon 
All's followers the cruellest of all punishments. 
Their pure-bred Arab steeds — animals of the 
K'hailane, 'Aheyane, K'hailet-el-*Ajouss and other 
celebrated pedigrees — were sold in the market at 
Damascus for such vile prices as £10 to £20, and 
afterwards, in the presence of their fettered owners, 
put to the plough. There is no greater disgrace 
than this to a Bedawi, who will refuse to part 
with his horse under many hundreds of pounds. 
What indeed is a Bedawi without his horse or his 
mare, which in time of war can appear and disappear 
** swifter than eagles ? " ^ 

* Jeremiah iv. 13. 



XIII 

THE WOOING OF SABHA 

I 

Abd er-Rahman el-Helal, who lived in the 
village of Abu-Dis, on the borders of the desert, 
but quite near Bethany, was one of the wealthiest 
men of his community and as such could afford 
the luxury of having two wives. Not that he 
cared very much for more than one. A special 
reason had prompted him to take a second spouse, 
Farha, a strong Bethlehem Moslem. His first 
wife, Kadriye, a near relative from the village of 
Bethany, had borne him no living children. And 
are not children, together with riches, the best of 
earthly goods, — especially children who can say 
" Praise to Allah ! " and perpetuate His glory ? 
But Farha's married life, unfortunately, was 
short : she died after five years, leaving Abd 
er-Rahman almost in the same position as before 
their union, for she left him only two daughters, 
Sabha and Alia. He loved them dearly, but all 
the same longed for a son and heir. 

Sabha and Alia had a sorry childhood. They 
may be said to have grown up hke orphans. Their 
stepmother almost hated them for taking away a 
part of the affection of their father. Luckily 
for them, Kadriye soon had a son, who, since he 

218 



A HARSH STEPMOTHER 219 

was born in the Spring when the father was absent 
on a pilgrimage to Naby-Moosa (the tomb of Moses) 
in the direction of the Dead Sea, received the name 
of Moosa. Great was Abd er-Rahman's joy, and 
fervently did he offer up thanks to the Prophet 
Moses for answering his prayer for a hving son. 
Two years later, Kadriye presented him with a 
second boy, whom they called Ehsein. Finally 
came a daughter Hasna. Sabha and Aha were 
as glad as if the children were their full brothers 
and sisters, and very useful they made themselves 
in the house, rocking the babies and carrying them 
about when Kadriye was busy elsewhere. Yet 
their stepmother, who continued to regard them 
as intruders, did not always treat them with 
kindness. The oldest of clothes were good enough 
for them, whilst their ornaments were limited to a 
few coloured beads on their head-dresses and some 
paltry silver coins dangling from their coral 
necklaces. Often, as the boys and Uttle Hasna 
grew older, did the girls feel their loneliness, — 
the injustice of the treatment meted out to them, 
and often did they cry for their mother, until, 
at last, the Bethlehem relatives claimed them. 
It was then that Abd er-Rahman allowed Alia to 
go and stay with her grandmother and sent Sabha 
into the fields to look after the goats and sheep. 
Sabha quickly developed into an exceedingly 
pretty lass. Her mother having been a Bethle- 
hemite, her skin was much whiter than that of the 



220 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Abu-Dis girls. In other ways, too, — the result, 
perhaps, of her healthy, open-air life — she was 
more attractive than they, so that when about 
fourteen she had already more than one admirer. 
But none could tell her openly of his admiration, 
or declare his love, as this is contrary to custom 
among Eastern lovers. Besides, she was away all 
day long with the animals, and on coming home in 
the evening, or before she left in the morning, her 
stepmother always had plenty of work in store for 
her. She had to milk the goats ; sometimes, early in 
the morning, to sweep the courts and fetch water 
from the well, some distance away from the vil- 
lage ; whilst during the day, when following the 
herds, there was the wool to spin. In short, she 
was busy all the time, but never had a para to call 
her own. How she wished she could earn some- 
thing and buy her own clothes, or at least some 
silk to embroider her head-veil, — how she longed 
for rings for her fingers and coins with which to 
adorn her head ! Ah ! she often thought, if 
only she could go to Jerusalem with the other 
girls to carry milk and eggs to the market. She 
would soon have some money then. Besides, it 
was no longer decent to let a big girl out day after 
day roaming about the mountains. But her 
stepmother Kadriy6 did not yet want her son 
Moosa to go among the rocks and be in danger 
from serpents and wild animals, though the father 
hinted more than once that the children had better 



A WANDERING BARD 221 

change their work. Let the boy now become 
the shepherd and the girl sell the produce at the 
market. 

II 

Among Sabha's admirers was one Hassan Saleh, 
a fine young fellow, who had met her sometimes 
as he led out his donkeys and cows to the fields 
and fancied her as his wife. But as his father 
was not on good terms with the El-Helal family 
and would not have been able to pay the dowry, 
he had been content to let his fancy remain a 
youth's dream. 

One December evening, when driving home his 
herds in the falling snow, and whilst everybody 
was hurrying to the village, he saw an old man 
on a white mare coming towards him and at once 
recognised Said el-Ma 'ati, with his one-stringed 
fiddle protruding from his saddle-bag. This old 
wandering bard was well known all over southern 
Palestine ; everyone was dehghted to see and hear 
him. After Hassan had bidden him " Peace," 
and the usual compUments had been exchanged. 
Said told him that he was going that evening to 
Abd er-Rahman's house. There would be a goodly 
company of villagers. Could he, too, not come arid 
Hsten ? . . . Hassan hesitated to accept the invi- 
tation. Would he be welcome under Abd er-Rah- 
man's roof ? Did not his father belong to the 
adverse party ? . . . Said el-Ma ^ati patiently 
Hstened to his scruples and smiled in his usual 

l6— (3131) 



222 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

dry, knowing manner. Then he proceeded to 
set all objections on one side. What had youth, 
he asked in turn, to do with feuds ? When he 
was young he had had no thoughts for anything 
save song and music and love, and, old though he 
was, he still remained faithful to the Muse and his 
fiddle . . . Hassan passed on his way undecided. 
But on reaching home the thought of Sabha's 
eyes turned the balance. After supper he slipped 
out of the house, hurried through the snow to Abd 
er-Rahman's, and quietly sat down among the 
guests, just as the bard was preparing his fiddle 
by warming the sheep's tail skin which covered 
the body of the instrument and was passing some 
resin over his bow. 

Said el-Ma 'ati had not only amused men, 
women, and children of more than one generation 
by repeating his interminable stories of ^Antar, of 
the Zeinati and Abu Zeid, — stories of war and 
the chase, — he had kindled flames in more than 
one breast as he sang of lovers dying for dark- 
eyed Bedawiye, sighing and wailing as though he 
himself was the lover, and imitating joyous or 
sorrowful faces as the tale ran on. Many a happy 
evening had people spent with him, sitting silently 
in the low-roofed rooms and patiently bearing the 
smoke which rose from the wood fire at which 
from time to time the bard warmed his one-stringed 
fiddle. Everybody loved Said, his fiddle and his 
mare, — three companions who had grown old 



THREE INSEPARABLE FRIENDS 223 

together, and, moreover, were fast showing signs 
of their years. As a matter of fact, both Said 
and his mare Rababy looked rather underfed, 
or perhaps it was that they never put on flesh 
through much roaming about. The mare had the 
same elongated face as her master ; her scanty 
beard was modelled on Said's ; her dry cheeks 
resembled his ; and, as her large and intelligent 
eyes followed her master's movements, there was a 
sarcastic twitch about her lips which gave one the 
impression that she knew he had some good story 
in store to tell. Some thought that she sometimes 
moved her fore-feet in imitation of a bow and fiddle. 
However that may be, there is no doubt about 
this, that as they went slowly up hill and down dale 
together they sought to read each other's wishes. 
When the hill was too steep, Said would dismount 
and teU her the stories which he was to repeat 
at their next stopping-place. It made the way 
seem less long to her and at the same time he 
rehearsed his role. ** Are you thirsty, Rababy ? " 
he would ask her when they approached water, 
and gently he would lead her to the wayside 
spring. Most of the time the bridle was hanging 
from the knob, as he feared he might hurt her old 
mouth by too hard a pull. Rababy, his fiddle, 
Rababy, his mare, and himself were three insepar- 
able friends. His mare had carried him during a 
great part of his life and his Rababy had been the 
means of him gaining a livelihood by fiddling, so 



224 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

when, sometimes, he paused in his song and set the 
fiddle aside, to hear the approbation of his hearers, 
he would wittily remark, " Rababy is hungry and 
wants food." The listeners never knew whether 
he meant the real Rababy which wanted warm- 
ing, whether it was time that Rababy the mare 
had her feed of barley, to be ready for next 
day's ride, or whether Said himself required a 
strengthening cup of coffee. However, everyone 
received his or her share. Wood was piled on the 
hearth to warm the fiddle, Rababy the mare 
received a good portion of barley, and coffee was 
prepared with the necessary ceremonial and 
handed to the bard and the company before he 
continued his poem, which, if particularly inter- 
esting, was rewarded by an extra Majidi from some 
generous hearer. And as the silver coin rolled 
towards Said he would skilfully introduce the name 
of the donor into his song and compHment him 
on his generosity, — an impromptu which 
invariably brought fresh gifts. 

Snow had continued to fall as thickly as ever, 
and intense cold reigned over the whole district. 
The hsteners at Abd er-Rahman's wrapped them- 
selves more closely in their striped Abbas and the 
chattering women-folk, in spite of the heat of the 
room, snuggled together. Hassan waited for 
every new impression produced by Said's song 
to look in the direction of Sabha and try to read 
her thoughts. In the general movement his 



AN ORIENTAL BEAUTY 225 

assiduity in seeking her eyes passed unobserved by 
all save the girl herself — and perhaps another. 
Sabha noted with pleasure that at least one person 
present was sympathetic towards her. Did Said 
also detect his secret ? Or was it merely a coinci- 
dence that when he once more took up his fiddle 
and began to entertain the company with a new 
composition he sang of love and its trials ? 

Said's touching story, which he opened with a 
wailing " Ah ! Ah ! " and a few particularly 
plaintive notes on his Rababy, was that of the 
son of a Sheikh who became enamoured with the 
daughter of a rival chief. The young man was 
much struck by the exquisite beauty of the Beda- 
wiye. Her dances were such that the passer-by 
had to stand still through sheer admiration. Her 
black curls pushed forth below her veil hke thyme 
bushes. The long veil which enframed her full- 
moon face was all embroidered by her own dex- 
terous fingers with red and green silk, and all around 
the brim dangled silk tassels of her own making. 
Her walk was Hke that of a young foal, and her 
long neck resembled a young camel's ; her bright 
black eyes were often likened to those of the 
gazelle. The perfect brows of her eyes were 
painted with kohl. Her looks were more burning 
than fire sparks, and looked like arrows ready to 
dart from the black bows above them and fly 
at their victim. Her well-proportioned body, 
thin as a lance, was ornamented with a pair of 



226 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

pomegranates from Damascus, and when she hfted 
her hands to shade her eyes and look whence her 
love was coming, tears like rivers would flow 
from the dull eyes of the enamoured passer-by, 
and the golden henna on her nails would dazzle 
many, — to say nothing of her voice, which, 
though flowing as sweet as honey, was like an arrow 
shot at the young Sheikh's heart. 

" Ah ! Ah ! " moaned the Sheikh, " I am dying 
of love, and never will she be mine. Why is 
bloody feud between our families ? Why is that 
tent curtain between her and me ? Why can she 
not see me riding my foal and showing my agihty ? 
She would have pity on me, and my tears, which 
are drying up my eyes, would stop at a single look. 
I would then carry her off to a place of happiness. 
We would reach another camp and my body would 
again put on flesh. But as it is, I am worn to a 
skeleton with care. Her black eyes and the golden 
henna on her nails have drawn out the very blood of 
my veins. My body and my bones have become 
transparent, so that my very shadow seems nothing 
more than the thinnest veil. Ah me ! Ah me ! I 
shall surely die and another will love my gazelle ! " 

Ere continuing his story. Said paused awhile, 
as though to see what impression he had produced 
on his audience. Everybody was deeply moved. 
Many of the girls and young men had tears in 
their eyes, and the glances exchanged between 
Hassan and Sabha were full of meaning. 



AN EMOTIONAL POEM 227 

" Alas ! " the looks of the former seemed to say, 
" I have no horse with which to carry you away. 
Nor am I certain that you would be willing to 
follow me. An attempt to take you against 
your will might cost me my life. Perhaps it will 
be better if I wither away like the young Sheikh 
in Said's poem." 

But the message in Sabha's eyes and the happy 
ending of the bard's narrative gave him courage. 

It was long after midnight when the last notes 
on the one-stringed fiddle ceased. But nobody 
was really sleepy. The company would have 
listened until morning had not next day's duties 
been in memory and Said had complained of 
hoarseness. So when Abd er-Rahman had 
honoured the bard with a golden lira the guests 
dispersed and retired to rest. 

Ill 

Hassan was' too full of emotion through passing 
a whole evening near his lady love to sleep a wink. 
How much Sabha slept she never said. One 
thing, however, I can state with certainty : long 
after the snow had melted and Spring had painted 
the fields and hills with green and many colours, 
the echo of Said el-Ma ^ati's song was still in the 
young people's hearts. As they went about their 
work, day after day, — Sabha with her herds and 
Hassan in the fields, — they dreamed of wild rides 
and a future home in a new and far-away land. 



228 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Early one morning, as Hassan drove his donkeys 
and cows to their work, he met Sabha at the well. 
If it is not in Fellah manners to be gallant, love's 
gallantry is the same all the world over, so he 
hastened to seize the opportunity to help her to 
set the heavy jar of water on her head, and, for 
the first time in his life, to speak to her. But 
words came with difficulty. He could only think 
of asking her how it was that she was alone. She 
replied simply, that with her father's wife there was 
no pity. She was forbidden to linger at the well and 
wait for the other maidens, for when the heaviest 
housework was done she had to take the herds to 
the mountains. " Eesht ya kheyi, — May you 
live, my brother ! " she hastily murmured as 
thanks. And each hurried away, lest anybody 
should see them and suspect an assignation. 

The interview had been of the shortest, but all 
the same Hassan was in a seventh heaven of 
deUght. In lifting the jar he had touched her 
body. He had smelled the odour of the Khedar 
perfume, which she had taken from her step- 
mother. His lips had almost come into contact 
with her thick curls as they pushed forth under her 
veil, — curls like those of the girl in Said's poem. 
Indeed, he fancied she was the very image of the 
fair lady whose charms he had heard sung to an 
accompaniment on the Rababy that winter evening. 
Strange, he mused, that her name was Sabha 
(the Dawn), and that it was a white morning when 



HASSAN'S LOVE SONG 229 

he first met her ! Her face, now that he came to 
think about it, was indeed like the Dawn. And 
forthwith he named his white-faced cow Sabha, 
in order to have an excuse for calUng out the name 
of his beloved. How he yearned for her ! His 
thoughts were full of her when ploughing, sowing, 
reaping, or thrashing. Sabha was ever uppermost. 
The black water-fowl with its white face was 
Sabha ; every white flower, every white thing in 
Nature reminded him of her and made his heart so 
overflow with poetic thoughts that he improvised 
a little love song beginning : — 

" Shuft is — Sabha fi tareek 
Ghamat 'hassra fi Kalbi 
Sabha sadrat jal fareek 
Tamat il 'hassra ja niri. " ^ 

Every morning Hassan went early to the well, 
but never again could he meet Sabha there. It 
was rumoured (neither could learn how it was that 
the news got abroad) that they had met ; so 
Sabha was no more sent to fetch water at an early 
hour. Moreover, to cut short all talking, Abd 
er-Rahman decided that she should no longer go 
with the herds. Henceforth she was to carry the 
milk and produce to the Jerusalem market in 
company with other women and girls, and so be 
always guarded. 

It was not long before Hassan discovered that 

1 "I have seen Sabha in the way. 
My heart received a severe knock. 
Sabha has gone and since that day 
I suffer from the terrible shock." 



230 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

he could only meet her in the city, amidst the noise 
of the streets and when the other women were 
busy. You may be sure that he soon found a 
pretext for going to Jerusalem. People flocked 
there every Friday : some on a visit to the 
Haram (the Mosque of Omar), others bent on 
selling their animals. He knew that the doors of 
the city were closed during prayer hours, from ten 
o'clock until noon, that nobody could either come 
in or go out, and he calculated that there was 
every possibility of his meeting Sabha, either when 
she was buying articles for a coming wedding of 
which the whole village of Abu-Dis had been talk- 
ing for days, or when she was waiting for the gates 
to be opened. His plan was successful. He did 
meet her ; but had merely time to exchange 
glances, to assure himself that she still had sym- 
pathy for him, and, ere he disappeared in the 
crowd, to whisper the first two Unes of his com- 
position. It was evident that he must seek for a 
better opportunity of telhng her all that he had in 
his heart. 

IV 
The moon was growing larger and the day for 
the wedding was rapidly approaching. It was a 
beautiful night in May, with a clear starlit sky. 
Stretched at full length on the roof of his father's 
house, Hassan dreamed of his beloved. For 
several evenings he had heard singing and ulula- 
tions, as the girls of Abu-Dis gathered on the 



HASSAN'S HAPPY DREAM 231 

house-tops to practise the songs and dances they 
were preparing for the coming ceremony ; and 
now, once more, he thought he could hear the 
music of song and dance. 

He dreamed that he was looking on at a grand 
rehearsal, and that Sabha was the most agile 
dancer and the sweetest singer among all the per- 
formers. Her silvery voice covered all the others, 
and her solos, when she improvised before the 
other girls, sounded like a concert of cymbals and 
drums. Ah ! if only he could get a Httle nearer 
and once more tell her of his love. Listening 
intently, he seemed to hear her words and the 
others repeat them : — 

" Nahun ibneiat mithle ilward la fatah ! 
Kulmin shamna walamna rabahn alley fatah ! 
Ya makhid is samra ya aima ya imkassah 
Khotlak wahady min il baid titsabah wa titmassah," ^ 

Then came a chorus of ululation. " Lull-u-luU- 
luU-u-luU-luU-u ..." it struck upon his ear, 
and so loud, at last, that he woke with a start. 

He could hardly believe that it was all a dream. 
Everything, and especially the words of Sabha's 
song, had been so distinct. Surely it was an 
omen ? And he found himself repeating the 
lines one by one, in order to try to discover their 
meaning. Was it not evident that the " dark 

1 " Dark roses are fit for the lame and the blind ; 
Who gathers white roses is never behind. 
Unceasing the blessings are sent from above, 
And mornings and evenings are filled with their love." 



232 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

roses " were the dusky-skinned girls of Abu-Dis, 
who fell to the lot of the generality of lovers, " the 
lame and the blind/' and that the choice " white 
roses " included Sabha, who was merely waiting 
to be gathered by some enterprising lover ? If 
only he had the courage to gather her, — and with 
her consent he determined to do so, — then the 
blessings from Allah would be unending, and the 
rest of their days would be " filled with their love." 
Yes, he must be bold if he would possess his 
beautiful white rose, otherwise his youth would 
irrevocably sUp by and he would languish like the 
young Hmedan of Said's poem. 

Hassan's duties called him on the following day 
to 'Ain Feshkhah, to gather rushes (dis) near that 
Dead Sea spring with which to make the mats 
for which Abu-Dis (the Father of Rushes) had 
gained a reputation. It was late in the evening 
when he returned home with his animals, and as he 
approached the village, eating some bread and the 
Dom-apples which he had gathered from an oasis, 
the sound of singing told him that the customary 
night's entertainment had begun. Putting his 
cows and donkeys in a place of safety, he cau- 
tiously approached on the house-tops, reached 
the one where the singers and dancers had assem- 
bled, and lay down in the deep shadow of a wall 
to enjoy the marriage revel and ** drink " the 
songs of ** his dawn." 

The girls had lit a bonfire and were dancing 



A PERFECT DANCER . 233 

wildly around it and a central figure, — no other 
than Sabha herself, whose flushed face seemed to 
her lover to be more glorious than ever as the light 
from the ruddy flames fell upon it. She was 
waving a coloured Mandeel (kerchief) high above 
her head ; so that her broad sleeves slipped down 
and revealed her alabaster-like arms, each adorned 
above the elbow with half a dozen glass bracelets 
of the best Hebron make. She bowed to her 
companions : now to the right, now to the left ; 
she jumped here and there ; she seized a naked 
sword to strike an imaginary enemy, and, with 
commanding gestures, threw it from one hand to the 
other ; whilst her feet incessantly moved to the 
music of her song and the circle of girls bowed and 
danced and sang before her. Comely though 
many of the others were, Hassan had eyes and 
ears for no one save the leading singer. He could 
hear the swish of her silken tassels as they tossed 
wildly to and fro ; he could perceive her bare feet 
as they glided over the smooth roof. They seemed 
like caresses to him. 

Sabha now addressed a new song to the coming 
bride : — 

" Abiad min ith-thalj beda ghabailki, 
As wad min il fahmi soda hawajebki 
Kul Areesin in tallabki allal baab natirki 
Yetla imhassar alia keflat hawasirki. " ^ 

* " Your breasts are as white as the hills when it snows , 
Blacker than coals are your perfect black brows. 
The candidates, lurking about your door, sigh. 
Return and regret ; no one dares to come nigh." 



234 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

The ululations which followed were not calcu- 
lated to quieten him. He resolved to act at the 
very next opportunity, even if he should die in 
doing so. Why not die fighting for his beloved 
rather than languish away in inaction ? 

In her wild dances Sabha's girdle had become 
loosened and her head-veil had slipped. She 
stopped a moment, giving the leadership to Helwy, 
the next best dancer. As there were several men 
standing by, Sabha retired to the shade of the 
wall where her lover was lying to rearrange her 
clothing, and, as decency requires, everybody 
looked the other way, towards the dancers. 
Hassan, who feigned to be asleep, was so near to 
her that he could almost have touched her. 

" Ya Kheiti, — My sister," he whispered. " I 
am with you morning and night." 

Recognising him immediately, she put her 
finger to her mouth and replied : — 

" Huss ya Kheiji, — Hush my brother. As 
soon as the wedding is over, we can meet again in 
Jerusalem. I will buy perfume for my mother 
at Hadj Abdallah's shop in the Suk el-Attarin, 
next to the Suk el-Lahamin ; * and there we will 
speak together." 

In a moment she had fastened the red silk 
girdle, fixed the veil with a great pin to her thick 
raven hair, and hurried back to the dancers, 
where she took up her post again. 

» The Butchers' Street. 



GOOD LOOKS AND COMMERCE 235 

Hassan's heart was ready to burst with joy. 
She had returned the love compUment. For 
the second time she had called him by the sweet 
name of brother, and she had appointed a meeting- 
place in the great city where they could surely see 
each other and, in all security, make their future 
plans. 

V 

Sabha's growing beauty did not influence her 
stepmother in her favour, especially as her own 
daughter Hasna was small and very dark-skinned, 
— so brown indeed that she received the nickname 
of Abdy (negress). When Sabha came home from 
the Jerusalem market, Kadriye's animosity used 
to take the form of a searching examination of 
her accounts, in order not to leave the girl any 
chance of making a few coppers, as pocket-money, 
out of her transactions. But Sabha was as good a 
business woman as she was a dancer or singer. 
Even an austere Oriental prefers to see a well- 
mannered tradeswoman, and will willingly pay 
a few extra paras if a smiling face looks at him 
from behind a stall or basket of provisions and a 
sweet persuasive voice invites him to buy. Con- 
sequently Sabha always sold her milk or labban, 
her hens or eggs much better than the plainer 
featured and less elegant mannered Fellahat. 
That she also contrived to make a little legitimate 
profit for herself, in spite of her stepmother, you 
may be sure. Sometimes a friend, knowing her 



236 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

reputation for being able to sell anything, would 
give her goods to sell, and on these she was allowed 
a small commission. Thus was she able to indulge 
in those little luxuries to which every Eastern 
girl aspires : small coloured beads and rows of 
quarter Majidis pierced with holes and sewn on 
her head-dress. 

The few days which separated them from their 
appointed rendezvous seemed hke months to 
Hassan, and the marriage rejoicings were wailings 
in his ears. He could not bear to think of Sabha 
displaying her beauty and skill to anyone save 
himself. Yet, he often asked himself, what right 
had he to lay claim to so superb a creature, — he 
who was so powerless to carry her away ? His 
only steed was a she-ass, fit for nothing save the 
carrying of mats to the Jerusalem market. In their 
flight — if ever she consented to that — the slow- 
moving beast would be nothing more than a 
nuisance. 

At last the happy day dawned. Driving his 
ass over the Mount of Olives, Hassan saw the 
rising sun tinting the Holy City with beautiful 
roseate colours. With the gilt cupola of the 
Mosque of the Holy Rock reflecting the bright 
rays of the sun, the Temple plateau void of people, 
and the multitudinous minarets pointing to heaven. 
El Kuds was to him the hoUest of sanctuaries. 
His love was going to be sealed in that immortal 
city. "He! He!" he exclaimed, as he urged 







ttiO 



5S 



FLOCKING TO THE MARKET 237 

on his ass ; and he wished she had wings to carry 
her over Kedron. But the beast of burden 
responded neither to word nor stick ; slowly she 
crept over the Jewish cemetery, down the slopes 
of the mountain, barely passing the groups of 
peasants whom they overtook on their way. 
Among these were numbers of Siloam women, who 
marched along below Absalom's pillar with baskets 
on their heads, containing heaped up cauliflowers, 
parsley and chard beet leaves from their watered 
gardens. The more women he saw flowing to the 
market the better he was pleased, for he knew 
that the denser the crowd the more certainty 
there was of his meeting with Sabha being unob- 
served. On entering Bab Sitti Mariam (St. Mary's 
or St. Stephen's Gate) the Fellahat, pouring in 
on all sides, increased at every step. Moreover, 
on that particular day, Jerusalem was full of 
visitors and pilgrims of every nationality. 

Hastening as rapidly as possible to the Bazaar 
where mats are sold, Hassan set down his load. 
Hardly had he done so than some foreign visitors 
came and bought his four mats at a Majidi each, 
and at the same time ordered ten more, as they 
were furnishing several sets of rooms in the Greek 
Convent. Promising to be at the same place 
a fortnight hence, he hastened away to the 
Friday fair near the Prophet David's Gate (Zion's 
Gate) and found the market crowded with cattle, 

donkeys, goats and sheep. Six Majidis were 

17— (3131) 



238 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

offered for his ass, but he refused them, and, 
after half an hour's waiting, seeing that nobody 
came his way with a better offer, he drove his 
animal to a Khan, where he paid fifteen paras for 
it to be fed and looked after during his absence. 
Then, with a rapidly beating heart, he hurried as 
fast as the crowd would permit him to the corner 
of the Suk el Lahamin and the Suk el Attarin. 

Sabha was already busy there, choosing her 
perfumes, a little pepper and cinnamon and some 
anise seed for dishes of curdled milk. Nobody 
of their village was about. Nevertheless, Hassan 
acted with Oriental circumspection. He feigned 
to buy powder and shot, telling the 'Attar ^ 
of his game expedition to the oasis of the Dead 
Sea. There were no formal salutations between 
the lovers when they left the shop and walked up 
the street, which was so narrow that not more 
than two persons could walk abreast without 
almost pushing into the articles hanging around 
the shop doors. As soon as they were side 
by side Hassan lost no time in making his brief 
declaration. 

" Soon," he said, " I shall be leaving Abu-Dis 
to go and live beyond Jordan with the tribe of the 
Aduan. I can no longer stay in the village without 
you." 

Sabha blushed and, in her confusion, replied : 
" Take me with you." 

1 Apothecary and perfume dealer. 



THE LOVERS' MEETING 239 

Hardly, however, had the words passed her 
lips than she retracted. 

" Ye ! my brother, how do you think I could 
leave my father and brothers, my work and my 
far-away sister ? " 

But the word which has passed the lips is master 
of the speaker's thoughts. Hassan insisted that 
he was ready to take her whenever she chose to 
follow him. He had merely time to add that in a 
fortnight he was to bring a fresh supply of mats 
to the market, that she should bring all her spare 
things with her, and that he knew a sure way of 
attaining their object. Some Abu-Dis people 
were coming down the street and left him but a 
moment to slip into a by-way without being seen. 

VI 

Hassan and his father worked busily at the mats 
for the next fortnight and Sabha went daily to 
market. Sometimes she returned home at noon 
but often, of necessity, she was later. Owing to 
the gates of Jerusalem being closed whilst the 
people were at prayer, she frequently missed her 
chance of selling her produce to advantage. Her 
stepmother's suspicious questions and looks when 
she explained how it was that she had come home 
late greviously offended her, so that her thoughts 
often recurred to Hassan's projected departure. 
Could she bear to let him go without her ? 

On the eve of the Friday market, when passing 



240 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Hassan's home, she saw the mats rolled up in 
front of the door and wished that she could meet 
him, in order to beg him to stay in Abu-Dis. Just 
at that moment he came round the corner. As he 
passed her he seized the opportunity to whisper : 
" I shall be ready to start to-morrow. We will 
meet at the same shop." 

Late that same evening Kadriye made ready 
the produce for next morning's market. Sabha's 
basket contained butter, sour milk and eggs, 
packed amongst olives, so that they would not 
break against the milk-jars. Her exacting step- 
mother estimated the possible price of every article 
and ordered her to buy, in the Suk el Khawajat, a 
piece of blue stuff for her sister Hasna. Should 
the money not be enough, she was to pay the 
remainder from her own earnings, "as her poor 
sister was very badly off for clothes, etc., and 
never had any chance of earning anything," 
though, as a matter of fact, little Hasna was always 
neatly clothed and had far more silver ornaments 
than her elder stepsister. 

Friday came and with it the usual crowds. 
Rows of yelling and bargaining women filled the 
lower quarters of Jerusalem. Women of Siloam, 
the Mount of Olives, Bethany and Abu-Dis chat- 
tered and quarrelled as they bought and sold. 
Sabha, selling everything very quickly, explained 
to her last customer that she was in a hurry to 
get home. Her stepmother wanted her to work 







too 



fcuO 









«aBB«2uJL.'l/' 



THE ELOPEMENT 241 

and she would have to hasten before the gates 
closed for prayer. As she had to buy the material 
for her sister, she went up the town instead of 
going towards Sitti Mariam. 

Hassan, too, was busy selling his mats to the 
customers in the Greek Convent. He then drove 
his ass to the fair, where, before he had been 
there more than a quarter of an hour, she was 
sold for seven Majidis to a man of Bethel, north 
of Jerusalem. He chose his customer with care, 
for anyone from the east might have asked silly 
questions : why he sold his ass, and so forth. He 
was very glad of the chance of getting rid of the 
animal at such a fair price. 

With the ten Majidis for the mats and seven for 
his ass, Hassan was a rich man and could start in 
life for himself. His powder-horn was full ; his 
small leather bag contained bullets and shot ; 
his Shibriyeh was fixed in his girdle. He had left 
his gun outside the gate, near Gethsemane, with 
an old oUve-guardian, as the soldiers at the gate 
would not allow any armed Fellah to enter the 
city. 

Finding Sabha at the appointed meeting-place, 
Hassan explained that he was indeed turning his 
back on Abu-Dis that very day. Was she coming 
with him ? . . . Sabha again hesitated. Should 
she leave home and throw in her lot with another ? 
Had she really any right to complain ? Harsh 
though her stepmother often was, she did not 



242 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

exactly illtreat her ... On the other hand, her 
stepsister was rapidly growing up and could 
easily fill her vacant place. Yes, Hasna was 
getting a big strong girl and would soon be able 
to go to market. Besides, she was the preferred 
one ... At the thought of freedom, Sabha's 
heart began to beat riotously. Then, suddenly, 
she gave her consent. 

" Which way shall we leave, brother ? " she 
asked. 

Hassan indicated a quiet street out of the Bab 
el 'Amud (Damascus Gate) and instructed her to 
turn to the right and walk slowly, with her empty 
basket on her head, towards the north, where he 
would join her by the southern side. Then they 
parted. 

Half an hour later, Hassan and Sabha met at 
Karm esh Sheikh. Both looked very embarrassed, 
for now they belonged to each other. And yet 
they were strangers. They had never been alone 
together as at that moment. For a few hundred 
yards they walked without speaking a word. 
At last Hassan broke the silence. 

" My sister," he said, " anybody meeting us 
will guess our situation at once if we continue this 
embarrassment. People will see by our clothing, 
our manners, and our speech that we are not of 
their parts. Villagers know each other so well 
and talk so much that our flight will be reported 
at once. We must leave the main road and go 



I 



AN AWKWARD POSITION 243 

towards the Jordan. But we shall have to walk 
quickly to reach the huts of the Ghawarny ^ 
before nightfall." 

Stumbling over the stony way, which Hassan, 
fortunately, knew very well, the lovers made their 
plan of campaign. They agreed to say that they 
were married, but had quarrelled with their parents 
on account of a stepmother ; and to everyone 
inquiring whence they came they were to give the 
name of a different place. 

By the time they reached El Ghor both the 
wanderers were very tired. Sabha had left her 
basket with the empty milk-pots, etc., in a grove. 
The nearer they approached the Jordan valley 
the warmer it grew. Her red mantle was the 
only superfluous article she decided to carry with 
her. 

Received with hospitality by the negro-arabs 
above Jericho, each slept in a separate tent : 
Sabha with the women and Hassan with the men. 
The older Bedawiyat, after hearing their tale, 
wisely shook their heads and spoke about a 
Khatify,.2 though Sabha had sworn that they were 
newly married and were going to see the land 
which " her husband " had rented from the Aduan 
in the autumn. The younger women and girls 
fuUy believed her and did not see why it should 
be otherwise. But the men agreed with the elders. 
They had noticed the lovers' teU-tale glances. 

1 Jordan Valley Arabs. ^ Elopement. 



244 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Some remarked that the young man was nicely 
shaven and looked very much like a sinner. More- 
over, appearances were against them. The woman 
carried practically nothing ; the man was without 
agricultural implements, — he had not even a 
sickle. However, that was their business. ** May 
Allah level their road," wished the sceptical ones. 
Everyone had a right to a chance to live. And so 
the Ghawarny feigned to believe the story which 
had been told them and decided to indicate the 
best way on the following day. Should pursuers 
come, they (the Ghawarny), having given this man 
and woman food and lodging, having eaten 
" bread and salt " with them, would be obliged 
by the laws of hospitality to deny that they had 
ever seen them. 

VII 

Early next morning, Hassan and Sabha were 
on their way towards the Jordan. Their conver- 
sation centred around the impression produced at 
Abu-Dis by their flight. Abd er-Rahman and 
Kadriy^ would probably ask the women late in the 
evening if they had seen her, and on being told 
that they had not set eyes on her since morning, a 
messenger would be sent to Bethlehem, to her 
grandmother's, to inquire if she were there. 
Unless they waited a day or two to see whether 
she came back. As to Hassan's father, he would 
probably conclude that, as the boy was fond of 



ADMITTED AS " MATNUB " 245 

hunting, he had gone to the desert with some 
Sawahry ^ with whom he had been on expeditions 
before. There was no need to be anxious about 
the ass, which he had perhaps left in safety in the 
Khan. In short, Hassan and Sabha concluded 
that they were safe for a day or two more, until 
they were far out of reach. 

The lovers were not very far out in their pre- 
dictions. When the people of Abu-Dis found that 
the two young people had eloped, every woman 
knew more about the past — the mysterious meet- 
ings near the weU, in the town, and on the road — 
than was possible. Kadriye was deeply grieved 
at the loss of the money from the last sale and at 
having to find someone to replace Sabha' s cheap 
labour. But she had observed the girl's sullen 
demeanour and expected the worst. Abd er- 
Rahman was really very much affected. He did 
not reahse until then how much he loved his 
eldest child. He bitterly regretted his want of 
affection and secretly blamed Kadriy^ for having 
treated the fair grown-up daughter too harshly. 

Meanwhile Hassan and Sabha travelled on 
beyond the Aduan (their alleged destination) 
until they came to the Beni-Sakhr, up on the 
plateau of Moab. On asking this tribe to admit 
them as Matnub^ they were received with joy, 
and a tent (the cost of which was covered by 
contributions) was given to them. Furniture, 

^ Bedawin. * Naturalised subjects. 



246 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

an old carpet and the most necessary articles for 
their household were also provided in a similar 
way. Hassan took down his turban and made 
it a flying head-dress (Kafiye). Sabha was trans- 
formed gradually. Her short Fellaha skirts were 
lengthened inch by inch, and with her spare money 
she bought a black mantle, the indispensable 
garment of every Bedawiye. Her red one, in 
memory of the old days, she retained only for 
indoor use. Hassan soon proved himself to be a 
first-rate hunter ; consequently he received from 
his comrades a fully equipped horse and, later, 
joined them on their war expeditions. 

Sabha brought up many children among the 
Beni-Sakhr and never told anyone of the story of 
her beloved Hassan's devotion until many years 
had passed and the people of Abu-Dis had long 
regarded them as dead, — the victims of Said 
el-Ma 'ati and his Rababy. 



XIV 

SONG AND DANCE IN THE EAST 

I 

Songs and dances, as well as music and poetry, 
or proverbs and stories, may be called the intellec- 
tual treasures of the inhabitants of Palestine — 
treasures inherited from ancestors reaching back 
to the dawn of history. Superficial observers have 
sometimes remarked that their songs are mere 
repetitions, their music monotonous wailings, and 
their instruments primitive, indicative of a nation 
in the lowest stage of civilisation. But many 
writers forget that the primary cause of this state 
of affairs is to be found in the absolute belief of 
the Arab in the divine revelation of every human 
gift, marking men superior to the brute. Thus, 
to him the calem (pen) is of divine origin.^ 
Why then change it? he asks. A typewriter 
is ungodly, — an occidental invention. Books 
other than the Koran are wicked ; singing at 
prayers and dancing at a time of devotion have 
been inspired from above, and no true believer is 
allowed to admit new methods. Moslems are 
faithful and punctual to the law and tradition 
received from ancestors, and though we neither 
admit nor submit to such inexorable obstacles to 
progress, we cannot refrain from admiring their 
constancy. What have occidentals done regarding 

1 Sura Ixviii. 

247 



248 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

" forbidden graven images " ? Not only are 
they everywhere in our streets and on our 
public monuments — but even churches are filled 
with them. The Moslem bows down to fate, 
or orders given in the sacred books, the Torah as 
well as the Koran, and cannot follow innovations. 
God ordered Noah to build an ark and gave the 
dimensions.^ Now, not only Moslems but even 
Christian oriental sailors believe that it is contrary 
to divine laws to build ships over 300 cubits long. 
Musical instruments, songs, dances, were invented 
by Jubal, 2 and it is transgression of the law to 
admit other ways. As the law of Moses is 
admitted by every true Israelite, every true Mos- 
lem must strictly observe the Koran, which is 
both a civil and a rehgious code. 

In Islam we find a greater respect for the letter 
of the law of Moses than amongst the alleged 
dispersed tribes of Israel. The song of Moses 
is a glorification of the supreme power of Jehovah. ^ 
The Blessings of Jacob and Moses prophesy* 
war and wealth. Miriam and the women, singing 
in antiphony, proclaim the triumph of Israel — 
after the destruction of Pharaoh in the Red Sea. ^ 
Let us take an example. The modern Arab 
Kaseedy is a song of expedition glorifying the 
crushing of enemies, and the estabhshment of the 
victorious tribe ; the Exodus of the Beni-Helal 

1 Genesis vi. 14-16. * Genesis v. 21. * Deuteronomy xxxii. 
* Genesis xlix. and Deuteronomy xxxiii. 
6 Exodus XV. 20-21. 



THE ZOOMARA 249 

from Nejd, passing by the Holy Land and fighting 
its way, till the final establishment in Tunis, 
resembles the Exodus of Beni-Israel by Sinai to 
the Holy City. A passage from this Kaseedy 
runs as follows : — 

" Benadi il imnadi fi Dawaweer Abu-'Ali, 
Sultan Hassan Yom el Khamees yesheel, 
Wa inkan endhum hurmuttin ajnabie 
Yenadiha la ahelha min gher jameel 
Wa inkan endho bint amo haleelto 
Daneelha 'oj il rkab itsheel 
Wa tar an bint it 'am tusbur 'alla-j-jafa 
Wa amma-1 gharibey bidha didleel 
Walli endo muharatin ma tittaba'ak 
Yehot 'aleiha sarj ma yen adal ma yameel." ^ 

Musical instruments, especially the Neiye and 
the Duff, are characteristic and unchangeable 
instruments used from time immemorial. 

The Neiye, also called Zoomara, is a double- 
reeded wind instrument, generally used by shep- 
herd boys but often also by camel-drivers ; and I 
have often noticed how the animals in Palestine 
are charmed by its hmited scale of notes, repeated 
hour after hour. My special attention has always 
been called to this primitive instrument, which I 
do not hesitate to call Abu-Zemoor, the father of 

1 " The Herald goes round the camp of Abu-Ali, and shouts 
Sultan Hassan decamps on Thursday. 
If you have foreign wives 
Send them back to their people. 
If your wives be your cousins, 
Prepare the crooked necked (camel) for them, 
For a cousin supports trials with patience, 
And the foreigner wants persuading. 
Whoever has an unbroken filly. 
Saddle and equip it well." 



250 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

musical instruments, and for some obvious reasons. 
With its very few notes, dull to occidental ears, 
it can raise passionate flames in the heart of the 
Fellaha girl, just as the waihng tones of the 
one-stringed Rababy can kindle the passion of a 
young man, and lead to an elopement, ^ with as 



^^i^D^ 




(Generally the Neiye or Zoomara is made of reeds, but some- 
times it is formed with the wing-bones of the Nisr. The mouth- 
pieces are movable and attached with strings, and like all the 
other strings which hold the two reeds together, they are 
strengthened with pitch. The mouth-pieces are called Banat — 
the daughters.) 

much ardour as can the most enchanting occidental 
flute, or the skilled and dexterous violinist of the 
West playing on a Stradivarius. And if the 
Western bursts into tears when he hears " Home 
Sweet Home," the Oriental melts at the thought 
of " My Mountain home, my whitewashed dome/' 
And has not this same Zoomara, which has en- 
chanted the under-developed Palestine Fellah 
for ever so many generations, also been a comfort 
to millions of Christians who still hear " the 
sweet singer of Israel " but are not aware that his 
Psalms were composed to the accompaniment of 
the Neiye ? 

When David brought the ark to Jerusalem he 
dehvered the first psalm to thank Jehovah, 

1 See The Wooing of Sabha, pp. 218-246. 



BLOWING A PSALM 251 

" Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him." * The 
Hebrew wording is Sheeroo-loo zamroo-loo — that is 
sing a " She'er " to him, blow a Zoomara to him. 
Now, a fellah blows the Neiye and the identical 
word "Zamroo "is used. Again, in Psalm Ixxxi. 
we find the words, " Sing aloud unto the God 
our strength, howl unto the God of Jacob. Take 
a Zamra (the English version says psalm) and 
bring hither a timbrel (duff) the fine harp with the 
psaltery." In Hebrew "Psalm" is "Mazmoor," 
indentical to the modern Arabic, meaning " played 
on the Neiye or the Zoomara." We also read, 
"Let him praise his name in the dance, let them 
sing praises unto him with the timbrel and the 
harp," 2 — in Hebrew, " Yehlaloo bimaTiool 
biduff wabi Kanoot yezmaroo-loo." 

Palestine proverbs are always based on incidents, 
and a proverb has almost always a small story 
attached to its origin. The origin of the proverb, 
" Adob ibneiak zamarr — Now, your son shall 
blow " (that is on the neiy6) is as follows : "A 
man told his neighbour who was going to town to 
bring a zoomara for his son. ' Very well,' repHed 
the other. So he went on his journey, but forgot 
all about the commission. The next time he was 
about to set out, he was again asked to bring the 
instrument. * All right,' he said. But he again 
neglected to do as his neighbour had asked him. 
The third time he left home, the man handed him 

* I, Chronicles xvi. 9. ^ Psalm cxlix. 3. 



252 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

thirty paras for the much desired reedlets. * Adob 
ibneiak zamarr — now, your son shall blow/ said 
the witty neighbour, as he received the money. 
And, sure enough, in the evening the much 
coveted object was in the hands of the delighted 
boy." Oriental sagacity has placed the moral 
education of the nation in their proverbs. 

Though the days of Arab splendour are gone, 
when generous and erudite Khalifs of the Omniad 
and Abbasid dynasties, in the marble palaces of 
Damascus and Bagdad, royally bestowed wealth 
on poets for a single verse, — though Arab htera- 
ture declined during the dark ages, when the con- 
queror of the north threatened to crush the nation 
out of existence, yet, thanks to the vivacity of the 
language and the constant efforts of the intellectual 
centres of Damascus and the world-famed El-Azhar 
at Cairo, Arabic has incontestibly proved that it 
is firmly rooted. The language has survived 
political disaster and, thanks to this energy, we 
are able to read the mentality of the people of 
former ages, vividly preserved in immutable 
manners, songs and melodies. 

The Palestine mother sings to her baby in the 
cradle as Samuel's mother did ; a woman sings 
when grinding her corn as the Israelite of Isaiah's 
days ; with Jephthah's daughter or with Miriam, 
the very duff is used to praise great feats. Under 
the vine and fig tree they sing as in the days of 
the judges. Men and women are separated in 



THE HOUSE 253 

joy and in sorrow, as of old. From generation to 
generation the father faithfully transmits his 
wisdom to the son and the mother teaches her 
daughter, the way she learned from her mother. 
Age is so respected that it is a transgression to 
dare to change a single word, a single colour. 

These are some observations concerning a family 
group in a well-known Judaean village: — 

Miriam and Abdallah were cousins, and had 
been brought up in the same house. They had 
grown up side by side — and their manners were 
the same. How could it have been otherwise ? 
For not only were their fathers brethren, their 
mothers also were sisters. Each family Hved in a 
room, which every one pompously called " his 
house." But does not the tent-living Bedawy 
call his tent or hut by the same name ? " Beit " 
House — means as much as hearth in the English 
language. These two houses were nothing more 
than two rooms, the doors of which opened into a 
court-yard, itself surrounded by a wall on which 
were stuck sharp thorn-hedges,^ to protect the 
herds and keep out thieves or wild animals by night. 

As the cousins were of the same age and the 
mothers Uved on good terms, Miriam and Abdallah 
were almost always together. The herds, the 
land, the gardens, the poultry, belonged to their 
parents in common, consequently, whether at 

^ Cf. Micah vii. 4. 

i8— (2131^ 



254 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

work or at rest, there was hardly a moment they 
did not spend in each other's company. When the 
two mothers rose long before dawn, to grind the 
daily flour on the handmill, they worked together, ^ 
and sang the songs they had learned from their 
mother and which, to judge by the wording, may 
be traced as far back as history. One of these 
songs, sung in long-drawn tones, ran as follows : — 

" In my father's house there are riches. 
Black negroes go quietly about to work. 
The days of my youth when visitors met 
As the fruits of last year have vanished." 

Half slumbering the children retained the wording 
— and when at play they repeated the song, which 
in their turn they handed on to their offspring. 

In the cradle they heard the mother's lullaby : — 

" Helwy mattat, mattat. La Walla salamet ha. 
Bukra tokol Khurfeshy, illi btutkur fi jozetha."* 

Or else, as a variation, the other mother would 
sing :— 

" Nami ya 'eni, nome il hinna ; 
La tashufi adna danna. 
Ya'h mik lUah, dumti fi sa'tik. 
Jufi bima'dik lUah es-sama." ' 

Miriam and Abdallah had also heard children's 
songs from the neighbours, and being very keen 
to learn songs of all kinds could at once repeat them. 
One such song was as foUows : — 

1 Matthew xxiv. 41. 

* " Helwy is dead ! No ! God save her ! 
She has perhaps eaten an artichoke 
Which has stuck in her throat." 
' " Sleep, darling, sleep in peace ; 
May you never have sorrow. 
, God will protect and give happiness. 

God in heaven grant your prayer." 



A DOGGEREL 255 

" Ya Kammar, ya hadi ya munawer alla-1 hanady, 
Awlad Khamsy, sitty, belabu ta'ht id dikky."i 

Betimes they astonished their companions by 
singing unknown doggerel rhymes which they had 
picked up somewhere : — 

" Saranda'h ya saranda'h 
Tool ik-tareek mana amda'h 
Bamda'h sitti Safiy6 
Im 'ekoos il imdaliy6 
Dalatni 'alia bab el-beer 
A'tatni shambar hareer 
Kalatli bifarhat amin 
Darabt il-Kooz bitufa'ha 
Til'oo Kiawati rama'ha 
'Hamleen is-sawany 
Khataftli Siniye 
Hamra wamakliye 
Ajat Khalti is-sarraka 
Sarkat min warai 
Wuk'at min Kafai 
Fi Tamar wa hinna 
Tamoot il 'ajooz 
Watedal U Mnna."* 

* " Oh moon ! calm guardian who giveth light to man. 
We are five or six children playing under a belt." 

* " Saranda and Saranda, 
I meditate all the way. 
I think about granny Sophy, 
Limping on her crutches. 
She showed me the way to the well ; 
Gave me a silken shawl. 
She told me with joy : 
Strike the cymbal with an apple. 
My sisters came in a hurry, 
Canying great dishes. 
I snatched one of them. 
Bearing roast and fried food. 
My thievish aunt came that way 
And stole one behind me. 
She fell behind me 
Amongst dates and henna. 
When the old one dies 
The daughter-in-law will remain (at home)." 



256 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

As Miriam and Abdallah grew up their ambition 
was not to invent new songs but to retain the old 
ones. After a long summer without rain, pro- 
cessions went round the village, the women and 
children imploring for pity : — 

" Ya Rabbi itbill ish-shartoota 
Kabbel in 'hamel Kabbel in-roo'h 
Kabbel in-'hamel 'a Musser 
Fi Musser ma navra'sh. 

Ya Rabbi itbill ish-shaly 
Wa ma'hna te'htak Khaiyaly 
Ya Rabbi ma hoo battar 
Yalla Karamy lal mattar." ^ 

Another year, when all the orchards were full 
of the most luscious fruit, many families of Jerusa- 
lem and Bethlehem came out to camp for a few 
weeks and " live on fruit," — an evident imitation 
of the feast of booths ^ and the Uving under vine 
and iig-tree. ^ Miriam and Abdallah, always ready 
to learn, made friends with the town children and 
from them learned many songs which were new to 
them. In the towns, where Jews and Christians 
are more common, the children said they rarely 
made friends with those of another creed and 

* " Oh, Lord ! wet our veils 
Before we load and start ; 
Before we start for Egypt. 
What awaits us there ? 

" Oh Lord ! wet our mantles. 
We only act by your order — 
Oh Lord ! It is not through pride. 
We honour, O God, your rain ! " 

» Leviticus xxiii. 42 and Nehemiah viii. 14. 
» I. Kings iv. 25. 



EASTER-SONGS 257 

often sang one against the other. The Moslems 
would sing : — 

" Ya Nasara, ya Yahood ! 
'Eet-kum 'eet il kurood 
'Eet na 'eet in-Nabi 
Fatme jabbat sabi 
Samato 'Abd en-Nabi 
Khabatto bil-Khabaye 
Ta'mato zalabiye, etc." ^ 

The Christian children of Bethlehem or Jerusa- 
lem, to rally the Jews, turned against the Yahood 
with the words : — 

" Ya Yahood ! Ya Yahood ! 
'Eet kum *eet-il kurood 
'Eet na 'eet il Masee'h 
Wal Masee'h fadana. 
Bidammo eshtarana 
Ma dean ilia dean il Masee'h 
Wa fath in-noor wa 'esadna 
Wa hatha Kabr Seiedna 
Seiedna 'Eesa-1-Masee'h 
Ehna ilyome fara 'ha 
Wal Yahood 'hazana," etc.* 

1 " Oh, Nazarenes ! oh, Jews ! 

Your feasts are goblin feasts. 

Ours are for the Prophet. 

Fatmy (his daughter) had a son. 

Whom she called Abd-en-Nabi. 

She hid him in the wheat-trough 

And gave him oil-cakes there." 
* " Oh, Jews ! oh, Jews ! 

Your feasts are goblin feasts. 

Ours are for Messiah, — 

The Messiah who redeemed us. 

With his blood, he bought us. 

Messiah's religion is the only true one. 

Light shone from his grave. ' 

The grave is Our Lord's 

Our Lord Jesus the Messiah. 

We rejoice on this day (whilst) 

Poor Jews are sorry." 
» A reference to the Holy Fire of the Greeks, which is alleged 
to come down from heaven into the Holy Sepulchre on Maunday 
Saturday. 



258 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

These children also taught Miriam and Abdallah 
round games in which all joined and sang in a 
circle. Antiphonally the two groups sang the 
words : — 

" 1st. Ya Fatmy, y a 'onha 

Fain ij jamal ? 
2nd. Fil ma'ssara. 
1st. Shu biyokul ? 
2nd. Habbet durra. 
1st. Shu beyeshrub ? 
2nd. Nuktek nada. 
1st. 'Ami, 'Ami ba'd amak ! 

Bitjawezneesh bintak ? 
2nd. Bajawzek iyaha 

Bitebool wa zemoor 

Min Halab la Stambool." ^ 

The town families also brought musical instru- 
ments with them, such as the Kanoon, a stringed 
instrument resembling the stringed Kanoot, or 
harp of David. ^ But this was only played in the 
evenings by the men. Another of their instru- 
ments was the Kamanjy, a small fiddle which 
differs from the Fellah Rababy. The body of the 
former is made of a coco-nut covered with sheep- 
skin and has several chords, whilst the latter has 

^ " 1st. Oh, Fatmy ! homage to you ! 

Where is the camel ? 
2nd. The camel presses oil. 
1st. What does he eat ? 
2nd. A grain of durra. 
1st. What does he drink ? 
2nd. A drop of dew. 
1st. Uncle, uncle, dear uncle, 

Let me have your daughter. 
2nd. I will give her to you 

Accompanied by drums and neiy6s 

From Aleppo to Stambul." 

• I. Samuel xvi. 23. 



MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS 259 

only one string, is much bigger and square in 
shape. But neither the Kamanjy nor the Kanoot 
were for Miriam or AbdaUah ; their instruments 
were the Duff/ or tamboureen, the Durbukky, 
or the S'hoon (Cymbals), and with these they did 
their best to encourage the danT^ers. 

When Autumn came and all the visitors had left, 
the two children continued their musical studies 
and by dint of practice soon became recognised 
as the most expert singers and dancers in their 
village. Whenever there was a wedding, a pro- 
cession for rain, or a burial, they were among the 
guests. 

As they grew older, they earned a few coppers 
by small sales at the Bethlehem market and 
thus were able to buy the necessary materials for 
making musical instruments. Miriam became the 
happy possessor of a Duff, and AbdaUah not only 
purchased a Neiye and a Yarghool — but also 
bought a cheap Soofara and a Shabbaby, 
single reeded blowing instruments. But he 
especially prided himself on a home-made 
Rababy. His favourite song was a Kaseedy 
of the Zeer, an old Arabian tale which runs as 
follows : — 

The factions of Kase and Yaman have been at 
war. Murra, in the north, is conquered by the 
Tobba Hassan of the Yemen. (The Tobbas of the 
Hemyarite dynasty reigned in the fourth century 

1 Exodus XV. 20. 



260 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

A.D. Tobba Hassan was fifteenth prince, from 
236 to 250 A.D.) The Tobba wants the beauti- 
ful girl Jaleely to wife. But Jaleely is betrothed 
to Klabe of the Kase faction. Yet they must 
submit and send Jaleely with forty camels. 
Every camel has a tiiple chest, with two com- 
partments containing clothes and jewels, and, in 
the middle, a hidden knight to kill the Tobba 
when introduced into his castle. An old 
necromancer is called and sings : — 

" Takool il 'ajooz illathi Shahtat. 
Ma 'an tazeel el 'anawi il sudoot 
Ya Tooba 'Hassan in'em Wajood.,, 
Wa erkab wa tared fok 'alia inhood. 
Ya jibu-1 Jalleely, lajlak khadeemy. 
Bi Khadin a'hmar wa jooz 'eyoon sood. 
Wa yasba 'ha ya Tooba', ya Khalbooz fatha 
Wa fi yad is-seiegh kul yome yesna'oo. 
Wa ya badenha, ya Tooba' ya shillet 'hareer 
Wa fi yad im 'allem kul yome yet la 'oo 
Wa ya 'unkha ya Tooba' ya 'unk el-ghazM, 
Wa ya thumha ya Tooba' ya Khaten thahoob 
Fi yad es-seiegh-Kul-yome masn'oo." ^ 

Tobba Hassan goes and receives the bride — 
but after much fighting is killed in battle, and 

1 " The old woman says, I witness 

Thou mayst adorn the captive, the sealed. 
Give in abundance, oh Tooba Hassan. 
Ride and gallop on women's breasts. 
Let them bring Jalleely, the captive, 
With red cheeks and coal-black eyes. 
Her fingers, oh Tobba, as silver appears 
In the hand of the smith, daily renewed. 
And her body, oh Tobba, a silken roll 
In the hand of the weaver, daily refreshed. 
Her neck, oh Tobba, just like a gazelle. 
Her mouth, oh Tobba, a ringlet of gold, 
Daily repaired by the goldsmith's hand." 

c 



GIPSIES 261 

Jaleely comes back to her tribe. Her beauty, 
however, causes much bloodshed. The faction 
continue to fight : Jassas, the Chief of the adverse 
party, against the Zeer, a son of the Jaleely. The 
Zeer is victorious and, as a final condition, con- 
demns the descendants of Jassas to ride only on 
donkeys. Now, the Gipsies are those descendants 
and they stiU curse the Zeer : — 

"Yen 'al Abu-1-Zeer 
lUi rakabna hameer." i 

Whereupon the FeUahin, because they received 
cows with which to plough, answer : — 

" Yen 'al Abu-1-Jassas 
Illi hamalna massas."* 

(It will be noticed by the student of these 
Kaseedies and popular songs that their authors are 
referred to by the bard as either He or Mohammed. 
It is not the poet but the subject which counts.) 

II 

SmaUpox broke out in the village and the eight- 
year-old Can'aan, the child of a neighbour, became 
dangerously ill. His mother vowed that should 
he recover she would offer a sacrifice to El Khadr. ^ 
Her prayers being granted, she invited friends and 
neighbours to join in a procession to the Convent, 

1 " Cursed be the father of Zeer, 
Who made us ride asses." 

* " Cursed be the father of Jassas, 
Who provided us with goads." 

» Cf. I. Samuel i. 11. 



262 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

which, though Christian and dedicated to St. 
George, is acknowledged by Moslems. Among the 
guests were Miriam and Abdallah. All along the 
way the latter entertained the party by playing 
on his Neiye. Miriam, in her finest attire, led the 
girls and, like Jephthah's daughter, did not forget 
to bring her Daff. When the men were busy 
preparing the lamb and the rice, the girls gathered 
around Miriam, who was dancing her Me'hla,i 
swinging her body to and fro — and now and then 
knocking on her Duff and accompanying it with 
songs and hallelujahs until she was flushed. 
Her flying curls around her forehead impressed 
even the young men ; whilst the girls, delighted 
to encourage her, clapped their hands at every 
third note. At last Miriam sat down quite 
exhausted, though none the less admired by her 
companions. 

On the way back, whilst sitting down awhile 
near the " sealed fountain " at the Pools of 
Solomon, a long-haired Dervish passed. He 
paused a few moments and entertained the com- 
pany with a song which related, in harmonious 
rhyme, the troubles of Joseph with his brethren. 
It opened as follows : — 

" Wa ramoo la Beer Jibrln 
Mallaan Heiyeya multameen." * 

Abdallah* s good memory and quick ear retained 

* Judges xi. 34. 

* " They threw him to Beer Jibrln, 
Full of different kinds of serpents," 



A ROMANCE 



263 



the words and tune, and on returning home he 
set to work to sing the song to an accompaniment 
on his Rababy. 

Abdallah had heard of the seven Mo'alakat 
hung in the Kaaba at Mecca, and his ambition was 
to retain as much as possible of all such songs. 
He began, at first, with short verses ; and thus 
his memory became very retentive. He quickly 
learnt how to sing the No'h or lamentation songs ; 
and he was also considered to be very good at 
singing a certain Mawaal, or romance, supposed 
to be sung by his lady love and beginning thus : — 



I I ,^^-^ 



-&■ 



" Wa la man ya ghib il-Kamar, ma newlak il mufta'h." 
" And when the moon has set I'll hand the key to you." 



i 



p^^ 



^ -j- 



-cr 



" Ah ya lail ah ya lail ah hay." 
Dear, oh night, dear, oh night, oh dear ! " 

His town friends' Mawaal were sung differently. 
" Ya lail " — was drawn out three or four times the 
length of Abdallah's "lail." Risk, his town 
friend, used to put his right hand to his temple as 
though to hold his head for the effort which the long 
drawn-out " lail " required from his whole being. 

The following summer brought much work in 
the field, at the Hme-kiln, at the olive harvest, and 
on all these occasions songs to encourage the 
workers were very welcome. At the last 



264 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

olive-gathering boys and girls worked and repeated 
a song opening with the words : — 

" Ya Zeitoon eklib lemoon ; 
Ya lemoon eklib zeitoon," etc. ^ 

During the long winter evenings the young 
people played all kinds of games, but She'er were 
more welcome, as everybody could appreciate them. 
Rabee brought new marriages. Miriam, ever 
ready to use her sweet voice, was again the leading 
figure in the dances in the evenings after the day's 
work. As if bowing to the moon, she opened the 
seven nights' ceremonials by one of the oldest 
marriage songs, addressing the bridegroom thus : — 

" TuU ib-Kamar wal Helali 
Wal Nijme ish-sha'ale. 
Walli bifoot ir-rafaik 
Yerkhass wallow kan ghali. 
Lull-u-lull-u-lull-u-," etc. 2 

Then, turning towards the bride, in her own circle, 
she smiled as she slightly changed her voice and 
sang these verses : — 

" Khaatmik ya maliha arinn bidaket in-nooba. 
Inhoodki hal beed mithil thalj ma'hsooba 
Sarat il kheel marsooje wamarkooba 
Bint il ajawid ilia ibn is-saied matlooba — 
LuU-u-luU-u-luU-u." etc. » 

^ " Olives turn into lemons ; 
Lemons turn into olives ! " 
2 " The moon appeared, that crescent 
And the flame-kindling star. 
Whoever hurries to leave his friends 
Loses his value though he be rich. 
Lull-u-lull-u-lull-u," etc. 
' " Your ring, oh fair one, rings as music. 

Your breast is a white place all strewn with snow. 
The horses are saddled and the riders have started. 
The nobleman's daughter is asked for the Lord." 



HOLY STANDARDS 265 

When Eed el-Kebir, the spring feast, with 
processions to the Sakhra (the Holy Rock in Jer- 
usalem) and the succeeding feasts to Nabi Moosa 
came round — the young people expressed a wish 
to join the pilgrimage. The Standard, dedicated 
to Seidna 'Omar Ben Khattab, was brought forth, 
and with all the instruments, cymbals, and drums, 
the valid villagers set forth. Not only men and 
boys, but women and girls followed in the rear. 
As they approached the wall of the Holy City, 
and as Saiara (processions) after Saiara from all 
the villages, with their instruments and standards, 
poured into the town, a holy enthusiasm seized 
the crowds. The men, half -naked, drew swords 
and began to strike their bodies until blood 
gushed forth, and all the time they wildly called 
on their saints and prophets. What Bible reader 
could fail to compare these savage scenes to those 
which the Prophet EHjah contemplated when the 
desperate prophets of Baal ^ expected wonders of 
their deity ? Soon the Saiaras filled the streets. 
Dervishes of all classes danced with all their 
energy before entering the sanctuary ;2 women, 
arm in arm and by threes and fours, followed 
singing at the top of their voices. 

When, on the following day, the ceremonies 
were over in the temple-court, the Saiaras set 
off again with the Beyrack, the holy standard of 

* I. Kings xviii. 28. 
» Cf. II. Samuel vi. 14. 



266 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Moses, for the three days' feast in the wilderness of 
Judah. 1 Very trying to all were these feasts and 
very glad everybody was to return home and begin 
their daily work again. 

At harvest time the families of both Miriam 
and Abdallah went down to the plain of Philistia. 
There was no healthy flowing water there as at 
their mountain home, — no wood, — no pure moun- 
tain air. The village had a well about twenty 
yards deep and as the women drew up the water 
they sang to the water genius : — 

" II mal yareed 
Abdain waseed 
Winghab el Abd 
I'hdar ya seed 
'End el tawreed." ^ 

The water is generally very bad in the torrid 
plains of Palestine and many mountaineers suffer 
there from malaria and ague. On this particular 
expedition fevers were rampant. One of the 
victims was Abdallah's father. At the funeral, 
the women, especially the two sisters and Miriam, 
rent their clothes, smeared their faces with 
soot, and, with dishevelled hair, wildly danced 
about the grave, singing the following lines, as 



* Exodus V. 1. 



Property requires 
A lord and slaves. 
If slaves are gone, 
Remain my lord 
In charge of wealth." 







g ^ 



o 

00 

o 

as 






SONG TO THE DEAD 267 

though trying to induce the departed one to 
return : — 

" Ya Sheikh hana mishwariye 
Fiha Shabab oo jahleen. 
Yiridoo shorak ya imsamma 
Ya Sheikh, heihum biendahulak 
Khafeef U Kaddem bista 'jelloolak 
Biridoo shorak ya imsamma. 

" LafEa dioof *alla-s-sa'ha 
Itla 'yS' Abu Isma'in shoof 
Kharoof ma bikri dioof 
Wadoo la ye'lam yidjib oakhra. 
LihMU ghamam 'hafi oo 'arian 
Li'hkill aghnam 'a mowrad el moye." ^ 



Sequel ] 



A few months later another death took place, — 
that of Miriam's mother. The girl was so over- 
come with grief that she refused food. But 
when her father took another wife she regarded 
herself as a stranger in her own home, once so 
dear to her, and looked for comfort in her best 

^ " Oh Sheikh ! there is a meeting 
Of young and ignorant lads. 
They want your counsel, blessed one. 
Here they are ! — calling you Sheikh. 
Light-footed, they run after you 
And seek your counsel, blessed one. 

" Guests have come to the public place. 
Come out Abu Ismain and look ! 
A single lamb is not enough for them. 
Send for more — one or two. 

Seauel I ^^ ^°* ^P barefooted and naked 
^ 1 And went to the watering-place 

(to get the lambs)." 



268 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

friend, — song. Many a time did she sing these 
lines : — 

" Marrakt 'an belt il 'habiby 
Lakate sakinto ghariby 
Sallamet ma raddat 'alleiyi 
II Beit, belt immi 'erifto 
Bish-sheed wal Tiasma kasarto 
Sakanto oo ghishmit 'aleya 
Lanno il 'habaieb fis-sa'id6 waseleen. 
Ma sheen 'a nakhel ij-jareed oo jeen 
Ka'ad ill 'habeieb 'all i'rak 
Yibkin 'all ayam il-afrak 
Yit'hakin 'all ayam il-laka." ^ 

Abdallah was now the head of his family. He 
worked in collaboration with a number of other 
young men of his own age, gathering brushwood 
and thistles for a hme-kiln which they had built. 
Whilst cutting the wood or carrying the big bun- 
dles of thorns, singing was the order of the day. 
Heaps of brushwood as high as houses were gathered, 
and when the fire was put to the entrance of the 
kiln, with a " Bism lUah ! " the men by twos con- 
stantly shoved in the fuel, singing antiphonally 

^ " I passed by the house of my beloved (mother). 
A stranger had taken her place. 
I greeted her and she did not answer, 
Though it was surely my mother's house. 
I knew the lime and the clay which she plastered. 
I lived there but now am a stranger. 
If the beloved ones (her father and stepmother) are 

living in happiness ; 
If they joyfully walk on palms 
Others sit in sorrow and weep, 
And remember the day of separation. 
But sometimes they laugh for the days of meeting (again) . 



JERUSALEM WORKERS 269 

the following lines, which, if not profoundly sen- 
sible, rhymed and served as an encouragement : — 



1st Singer. 


" Hana juwa. 


2nd „ 


11 'hooma. 


1st „ 


Wain waisilna. 


2nd „ 


Darb el 'henna. 


1st „ 


Darb esh-shoke 


2nd „ 


•Handakoke." i 



When the lime was burned they carried it on 
their camels to building-places in Jerusalem. 
There they found the workers singing over their 
task. The gangs as they went up with stones or 
mortar responded to those coming down : — 

1st Gang. " Ya Muallem hilna — 
2nd ,, WuUa bnuhrub kilna — 

1st „ Ya Muallem haat baksheesh 

2nd ,, WuUa bukra ma bnijeesh."* 

These Jerusalem workers also sang in unison 
a song which had come from Egypt and was 
known in every street. Abdallah picked it up and 
when he came back sang it to Miriam. But 

1 " In it goes 

At the fiercest moment. 
Where are we ? 
At the henna road. 
The way of briars. 
Trefoil plant." 

2 " Master ! give us freedom 

Else we shall run away. 
Master ! give us baksheesh 
Else we'll not come again." 
19— (2131) 



270 



THE IMMOVABLE EAST 



she did not much care for these 
The opening hnes were as follows :- 



novelties." 



N \ 



:?5;=K 



-^ — « — m — « — m m — ^ — «. 



-m—mi 



-!?-! ?- 



:;z=5c 



" Baftu-Hindi, baftu Hindi Shash hareer ya banat tukhud uli 

shash il ghali." 
" Indian linen, Indian linen, Silken muslin. Hear ye, girls ! 

Buy me the dearest muslin." 



^^= ^ -,^^ ^ 1^ 



^ 



:s=)N=fszz^ 



:JS=3;: 



" Min suekat Hadrabat. Weft ahuli ya sabeya laglabat, laglabat." 
" From the shops at Hadrabad. Open, maidens, let me enter. 
Weary, let me in to rest." 

He sang many more verses — but she only 
liked the passage referring to conscription, for 
lately a cousin had been taken away to the army — 
and like every Fellaha, she cried for him as if 
already killed in war. 



i 



>-4 N ^-j^-r^ 



^ 



B fe V 



^^=P^ 



^V ^ h i 

- • ^. -^ -^ 



" 'Akhadook it Turki minni 

Nawa 'oo Kalbi 'alake." 
" And the Turks have dragged you from me. 

Leaving sorrow in my aching heart." 

HI 

Abdallah and Miriam became engaged. They 
were to be married in the autumn. Preparations 
for the wedding were already being made. 
Abdallah himself joined the dancers and singers ; 
he had always been fond of the Sa'hjy, that all-in- 
a-row dance in which he was an expert, and which 



AS 3,000 YEARS AGO 271 

reminds us of the Sahak in Sinai, " when the people 
sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play." ^ 
In more ways than one has the Israelitish spirit 
continued to exist in the Fellahin of Palestine. They 
still sprinkle blood on the door-posts in commemora- 
tion of some great past event, probably the recollec- 
tion of the slaughter of the Egyptians. ^ Similarly, 
as in the bowing to the golden calf, modem dancers 
bow down, prompted by some long lost motive. 

Abdallah was ever the leader in the Sa'hjy. 
Facing the dancers, he drew his sword, and gave 
directions. Singing, he made the human wall of 
dancers stand still or move to the right or the left. 
All the while they repeated what he sang — and 
clapped their hands. Suddenly with a very 
reverent bow, he made them bow, almost to the 
ground, like camels ready to kneel. " Kh ! 
Kh ! Kh ! " he cried ; then commanded them to 
rise again. Miriam and the girls with her were so 
delighted that for a while they stopped their own 
lively dance and whispered one to another. How 
grand the scene was. What a master Abdallah 
was ! And seizing her Duff, Miriam began to 
sing as follows in honour of her beloved : — 




'' Ah ! ih ! ah ! A hu ya hath a'l laTiam ya bene il 'ada kome 

him' 
Ah ! ih ! ah ! 'Aduatak daba'hu mara'h il khabar ish-Sham ! 
Ah ! ih ! ah ! Ya Malek, ya ibn il malek, yeblak bin-nesra 

wadarat il fallak." 

1 Exodus xxxii. 6. * Exodus xii, 17, 



272 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

followed by the Zaghroot: — 

yji^i^rrgzi g— g-S-4-4 -6-£-5-£-S s - 
f( fr-^^ — g — g g g g g g -> g g g g i^ — 



"LuU-lull-ull-ull-ull-ull-uU-ull-uU-uU-ull-ull-oo." 

" Ah ! ih ! ah ! Wa naru'h Udar il 'adoo wa nahidid ha. 

Ah ! ih ! ah ! Wa innakkel a'hjarha 'alia belaad il Karak. 

Ah ! ih ! ah ! Ha hathak malekna, low la kan halikna. 

Ah ! ih ! ah ! Low la Rheilak taaleen ran il 'ada akhadna." 

The late Claude Reignier Conder kindly cor- 
rected my version of this song, and in the 
" Quarterly Statement " of the P. E. F. for July, 
1894, translated it as follows : — 

" O, there was the butcher, the fury of foes. 
Your foes are slain, was the news to Damascus. 
O King, King's son, victory is thine. (Ululation.) 
And a return to fortune. 

Let us go to the foeman's home and destroy it. 
And carry its stones to Kerak. 
He would have ruled us — not till we perish ! 
Before your horsemen came, the foe was our prey." 

Marriages are very often celebrated in Palestine 
to terminate an expedition or to show joy on 
returning home. Therefore the songs on such 
solemn occasions have a note of victory in them. 
The women of Israel came out with Me'hloot 
and She'er playing on the Duff for Saul and David's 
victory over Goliath — and antiphonally repeated, 



SINGING ANTIPHONALLY 273 

— first group : " Saul has slain his thousand " ; 
second group : " David his ten thousand," ^ 
because David was considered as the bridegroom 
of Michal, the King's daughter. It was a war 
song to celebrate the future marriage, as weU as 
the victory. 

This singing in two groups is often to be noticed, 
— for instance, with Moses when he " She^ers " 
for the escape from the Egyptians ^ or with the 
psalm of exhortation, when one party sings : first 
** O give thanks into Jehovah, for he is good"; 
and the second answers : " For his mercy endureth 
for ever," and thus twenty-five times, ^ or as in 
the case of the two companies which gave thanks 
in the house of God, Nehemiah and the half of 
the rulers with him.* 

As can also be seen, the women's songs have 
retained the old measure. At times of joy or 
sorrow, triumph or loss, the melody differs little 
except that a more lively note is noticeable. 
When Miriam, walking one day to Jerusalem, 
saw mourning Ta'amr^ women weeping on the 
graves near Rachel's tomb, she joined the mourn- 
ers, as she knew several of them, and noticed the 
low tone in which they sang compared with what 
she had heard at MamiUa in Jerusalem. There 
the women waved handkerchiefs above their 

^ I Samuel xviii. 6-7. 2 Exodus xv. 

* Psalms cxxxvi. * Nehemiah xii. 40. 



274 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

heads and in shrieking tones began their address 
to the departed as follows : — 

-•- -(•- -•- -•- 

t; 1: t— -& 



i 



SEiEiE^ 



;=^ 



I , — -J— I J j — ^ !- 



" Ya waradi-e 

" La mano hilli nomo hoo 
Kadadoo thiabho add'hadoo." 

" When his sleep became prolonged 
They rent clothes on his grave." 

Here, on the contrary, the high pitched screams 
were omitted, and the wailing song seemed a more 
natural expression of deep grief. The mourning 
of the dark Badawiyat took this more dignified 
form : — 



^ I I I I I I f^^^r^i r r I I I iN'i^ 



> ^ ^ ^ 



" Manaksh Khaber y a Kheiyi. Yohne shufna 'hbabna. 

hm ! hm ! hm ! hm ! 
Tal'een biz-zaffy wul Kheil. Wush Shab 'alia babna." 

" Don't you remember, brother, When we saw our dear ones 
Going on the horseback procession. And the youngster 
at the door." 

" Laminak tinshara, Bil mal ma ridna tana 
Ya 'hesso ra'd, y 'erak la tahleel." 

" If you could be bought — No money would be suf&cient. 
His voice was like thunder, a rock for praising (God)." 

Just as Miriam and Abdallah had learned songs 
and dances — No^h (mourning songs) and Mowaal 
(romances) — from their parents, friends and neigh- 
bours, so in turn did they teach their songs and 
dances, unchanged, to their children. And as I 



MIRIAM'S SONG 275 

listened one evening to Abdallah's tune as he 
chanted the old dervish's song of Joseph, I was 
struck by the fact that the construction of the 
song of this modern singer was the same as that 
of Miriam's song — not the young woman before 
me with her " Duff " but the older Miriam, the 
sister of Moses, when, following her brother's 
example, she sang of Israel's delivery : — 



■ ■I I . ft 



D^isztt^ 



\ — ^-fi- 



3C=it 



J' J J 



-*—*—#- 



J. S 



" Sheiroo li Jahweh Kigah gah. Soos wa rakbu rama meem." 

" Sing ye to Jehovah, for his glorious deeds, Horse and rider 
have been thrown to the sea " (Exodus xv. 21). 

It was exactly the same as : — 

" Wa ramoo la Beer Jibrin — ^Malan heiyeya multameem." 

IV 

As if transported through the ages of Palestine 
history, I could distinctly hear, when watching the 
wild gestures of Dervishes, the loud or faint echo, 
as the case might be, of the songs and dances of 
the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. On 
hearing the Neiye, I could imagine David com- 
posing a Mazmoor. At other times the sorrowful 
song for a lost friend reminded me of the fall of 
Saul and Jonathan on Gilboa, or the clear tinkhng 
voices of the girls in the booths under the fig- 
trees of those old forgotten feasts which Nehemiah 
instituted and which were the occasion for " very 
great gladness." ^ How could it be otherwise 

* Nehemiah viii. 17. 



276 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

when I heard Miriam's clear notes issue from one 
of the booths : — 



1 / i^ U i^ 1 / — i^ ~l » t ^ ' ' U ! g I - b i x ■i^ 



i 



:s=?: 



4— L ^°^ 



" Shay ya wellay, ya wellay, 

ya bei." 
" Shay ya wellay, ya wellay, 

ya Khei." 
" Shay ya wellay, ya wellay, 

ya low low," 

and another girl, on the opposite mountain, respond 
— like a far-away echo ? This singing from 
mountain to mountain, often carried on for hours 
in the gay sunshine, was interrupted by the 
chirp of the cicadas or the continual croaking of 
the crows as they fluttered about the fig-trees in 
search of figs. ^ The very air itself seemed 
impregnated in this unchangeable East with 
archaic ideas and images. Ravens croaked as 
they had always done ; jackals repeated the same 
wailing sounds ; ruins told of ancient tragedies — 
events which happened thousands of years ago — 
and yet were spoken of as though they were 
incidents of the last war episode in the Balkans. 
With such thoughts as these I was riding home 
late one evening down the stony village path 
when it occurred to me that Miriam and 
Abdallah's songs were more or less imitations of 

* Cf. Psalm cxlvii. 9. 



HALLELUJAH 277 

the voices or sounds heard in Nature. The 
setting crescent shed its last pale rays on the 
innumerable rocks which studded the mountain 
slopes. Behind the boulders the graceful cream- 
flowered stalks of thousands of squills peeped out 
on the nocturnal landscape like silent pigmies. 
Suddenly, borne on the evening breeze, the sound 
of drums and cymbals struck my ear, now louder, 
now quieter as they were carried towards or away 
from me. Then I remembered that it was 
Thursday night, on which the Dervishes assembled 
and prophesied, calling on the name of the one 
God until the Spirit was upon them. ^ Abdallah 
had belonged to them for some time past but up 
to then only carried a big rosary about with him — 
to say his " Saba'h." He and his comrades were 
assembled for the Tahleel, which originated when 
the moon was worshipped, and which later was 
observed by the Israelites on the occasion of their 
new moon solemnities. ^ Those Dervishes in that 
village on the border of the Judaean desert, were 
dancing and singing with the same ardour and 
enthusiasm as their predecessors of olden times, 
they were exhorted to sing hallel-u-jah to the 
sound of the timbrel as in the day of the Psalmist. 
And through the stillness of the night the voices 
came up to me again and again, repeating 
" Hallel-u-jah !— Praise to Jehovah ! " ^ 

^ I. Samuel xix. 20. ^ Isaiah i. 13. * Psalm cl. 



XV 

THEN AND NOW 

I 

In our peregrinations up and down the country 
with our bees, my brother and I had pitched our 
camp to the left of the main road leading from 
Jaffa to Gaza, in the low hilly country between 
two river-beds, which, further up in the mountains 
of Judah, were known as Wad-es-Sarar (the 
Valley of Sorek) and Wad-es-Sumt, but here, 
nearer the sea, had changed their names into 
Nahr Rubin and Nahr Sukreir, near the mouths 
of which are the shrines of Naby Rubin (the 
Prophet Reuben), and Naby Junis (the Prophet 
Jonas). Both these sanctuaries are visited once 
a year by flocks of pilgrims from all parts of 
Palestine — pilgrims who indulge in a few weeks* 
picnicking and spend the money they have 
carefully gathered all the year round in view of 
the feasts. When these feasts in the wilderness 
are over the places are deserted for eleven months, 
and only Warrans and serpents leave their unmis- 
takable traces in the deep sand which for miles 
covers the country. After the rainy season, the 
rivers become flooded, and the consequent stag- 
nant marshes afford good shelter for birds of all 
kinds — magnificent haunts for the sportsman 

278 



APIARIES IN MARSHES 279 

were it not for Sultan Wakham, ^ who reigns 
supreme, and innumerable mosquitoes, who help 
to inoculate his dangerous virus into the systems 
of the few daring visitors who, like ourselves, 
ventured there. Jackals, ichneumons, foxes and, 
now and then, a stray hyaena, are the only quad- 
rupeds who live and find plenty of food in those 
inhospitable marshes. Our own special reason for 
going there was the rich flora in August and 
September, when our apiaries could best profit 
by the flowers. We usually avoided all such 
villages as Shuweikeh (Socoh), TeU-es-Safi (the 
Blanchegarde of the Crusaders), or the Jewish 
colonies of Ekron and Katra (Gederoth), and set 
up our hives on the banks of the Wadies, mostly 
lined with melliferous Agnus Castus. 

Our apiaries were generally guarded by North 
Africans, who were admirably fitted for keeping 
would-be marauders at a distance. As in the days 
of David and Saul, people of all classes, eager to 
escape being called to judgment in the more 
orderly centres, flocked to this land of the Philis- 
tines to be in safety. ^ True, we did not frighten 
anybody by foolish ways, as Nabal did,^ nor did 
we ask who they were, nor did we care to know 
the names of ** the servants that broke away from 
their masters." By the intervention of our 
Moroccans, we chose Abigail's pohcy, and let these 

^ Malaria. * j^ Samuel xxvii. 1-2. 

• I. Samuel xxv. 



280 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

suspicious characters have honey in return for 
" being not hurt by them." 

Late one evening, when the plain was still 
burning with the heat of a torrid August day, and 
we were about to retire to rest, strange sounds as 
of men in peril fell on our ears. Swift as lightning, 
one of our guardians, *Hadj Imhammad, seized 
his double-barrelled gun and rushed in the direc- 
tion of the voices. Though a comparatively 
honest fellow, whenever he could join in a row 
with a chance of obtaining a share of the booty, 
he became as vigorous a ruffian as any of those 
who waylaid belated wayfarers in the long wind- 
ings of the Wadies. His very rifle he had obtained 
in one of these expeditions, in which he " had not 
hurt the robbers." On 'Hajd Imhammad drawing 
near to the place whence the sounds came, he 
heard the complaints of a man lying wounded, 
perhaps dying, on the ground. It was not long 
before he found him and lifted him up. He was 
a stranger, an Arab townsman. On opening his 
eyes, the wounded man put his hand to his girdle, 
where he generally kept his pistol, and cried 
out: " Kohm wulla sa'heb ?— Friend or foe?" 
Imhammad quickly quieted him, explaining that 
he was a friend, a true behever, who had come to 
rescue him. The injury he had received was a 
blow on the forehead from a Naboot, but he could 
stand up fairly well and so, leaning on Imhammad's 
arm, the two men hobbled into our camp. But 



HATED FRANJIS 281 

no sooner did the stranger recognise us to be 
" hated Fran j is " than he stood stock still and 
seemed to be making up his mind to retreat. It 
took all 'Hadj Imhammad's eloquence to persuade 
him that we were really good people — " almost as 
good as Moslems " — and that we should look after 
him well until he went on to Jaffa or Jerusalem. 
Esdud (Ashdod) was too far south ; Yebna was a 
good way off ; and it was doubtful whether he 
could count on as warm hospitality in the Jewish 
colonies off the road as with " his masters." The 
man repUed that he was now living in Jerusalem, 
but that he knew the whole country and was a 
native of Hebron, which he had left years ago. 
He always looked for a place where no Christians 
came into contact with him. True to his native 
town, he swore ** by the life of the Prophet 
Abraham, the friend of God — Wu'heyat in- 
Nabi Ibrahim Khaleel Allah ! " However, on 
hearing that we were the Urtas Fran j is, his 
attitude suddenly changed. His face positively 
beamed with joy, and he at once consented to 
teU us who he was. 

His name, he said, was Hassan Yaseen Abu- 
Razek, and he was the nephew of the well-known 
Sheikh Hamzy, the travellers' guide of Hebron. 
Strange to say, we were not unknown to each 
other. On one occasion, when on a tour to 
Hebron and in the ever-regretted vineyards of 
*Ain Askala, he had found us boys with our 



282 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

mother living in a hut under his uncle's big nut 
tree. And he distinctly remembered the good 
woman going round from hut to hut in the vine- 
yards, tending the sick, giving quinine to this and 
that one, but especially dropping Kutra (lapis 
infernalis) into the eyes of the numerous ophthalmia 
suffering women and children, including himself. 
Never would he forget Im-Hanary (the mother of 
Henry), the Hakimy. ^ Henceforth we were almost 
brethren, for had we not Hved several weeks under 
the same hut and starlit sky — had we not eaten 
" bread and salt " (" il 'esh walmal'h ") together, 
in good old Sheikh Hamzy's vineyard ? 

n 

When Hassan Yaseen had had a good night's 
rest and had partaken of our frugal breakfast — 
the usual cup of Moka, biscuits and honey — we 
rolled our cigarettes and spoke together about his 
narrow escape on the previous night and our 
wonderful meeting after so many years. He, too, 
had been a citizen of the world, as the story of his 
travels and adventures showed. 

" By Nabi Ibrahim el Khaleel," he began, 
" Naseeb (Fate) has brought us together again. 
May we often meet thus. Though I thought that 
the perilous days of Fellah Sheikdom had gone for 
ever, and that the Turkish Government had put 

1 Doctoress. 



GRAPES OF ESHCOL 283 

order into the unsettled days of my youth, travel 
is evidently still Khattar. ^ I will retire from 
business after this last adventure. . . . When 
I was a boy my father owned one of the finest 
vineyards near 'Ain Askala, ^ where the renowned 
Hebron grapes grow. That luscious fruit always 
sold at a superior price, and often we could keep 
it until the Christians' Eed el Milady (Christmas), 
when it fetched as high a figure as three piastres 
a rottel. ^ How I loved the beautiful shade under 
the pomegranate and fig-trees of 'Ain Askala ! 
But my star led me elsewhere. As a rule, we 
would not sell the grapes to Jews and Christians, 
as they generally transformed them into wine and 
spirits, and this despite the fact that the Jews 
Uving in Hebron often offered us high prices. 
Rather than do that we preferred to make Dibs, * 
and boil the fruit into Tabikh 'eneb^ for our own 
use in winter and for sale in villages and towns. 
When the grapes had been pressed in the old 
cuttings in the rocks, which, with vineyards, are as 
old as humanity, we boys used to suck the sweet 
juice as it flowed down into the pitchers below.® 
I always thought that the rocks and vineyards 
which had belonged to my ancestors and were 
never out of repair could never change hands. 

1 Full of peril. 

2 The brook of Eshcol where Joshua found the fine grapes. 
Numbers xiii. 23. 

' Five pence for six and a half pounds. * Treacle. 

5 Preserved grapes, « Deuteronomy xxxii. 13. 



284 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

But we must bow down and accept what was 
written from Eternity ! Little did I know that 
soon we should have to abandon home and 
heritage and, fleeing from the land of our fathers, 
never again handle the small Dibs-Kaakeer, ^ 
never again taste our good fruit and drink our own 
water near the tombs of our Lords and Ladies, 
Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Sarah and Lea — on 
whom be peace ! 

" Usually we remained two to three months in 
the small house and huts of our vineyard, and 
when the harvest was over and all was ready in 
pots, my father and I would start off and sell our 
produce, either for cash or for wheat, barley, 
butter and the Hke, which in turn we sold in the 
Hebron market. Thus, when still young, did I 
learn the art of trading. 

" One dark night, when the rainy season was 
almost at our door and much work yet remained 
to be done in the vineyard, where there was a fine 
crop of winter grapes, we were suddenly awakened 
by unaccustomed sounds, as of men stealthily 
coming in our direction. As quick as thought 
we reached for our swords, but no sooner had we 
done so than armed and thickly masked men 
stood above us and with vigorous blows stunned 
us. The fingers on their covered mouths and their 
swords held menacingly above our heads were 
arguments which needed no further explanation. 

* Pots made in Hebron. 



AMONGST ROBBERS 285 

Dumb with terror, my father, mother and 
two sisters lay motionless, their eyes half open, 
their faces as pale as death. The wild eyes of the 
robbers, looking daggers at us, seemed to say : 
* Stir if you dare ! ' Of course, it was useless to 
think of resisting, or attempting to caU for help — 
that would have meant immediate death. So 
we let our assailants have their way. Soon, 
quite distinctly, we could hear the cutting of the 
grapes, the loading of animals, the whispering of 
many men, and, finally, the retreat of the whole 
band. But before they left us we were bound 
hand and foot with our own turbans and girdles. 
Bleeding from our wounds, we had to disentangle 
ourselves as best we could. It was not until 
daylight that we got free of our bonds and began 
to try to find out in which direction the robbers 
had gone. That would have been an easy task 
here, on the sandy plain ; but along the stony 
roads of Djebel el Khaleel it was impossible to find 
a single trace of them. In vain we asked passers- 
by, but nobody had seen any suspicious-looking 
camel-drivers. So my father, though suffering 
from the wound on his head and exhausted through 
the night's adventure, set out with me in the 
direction of Jerusalem, the only likely market to 
which thieves would venture to take stolen goods. 
When we had walked for fully two hours, we 
stopped at 'Ain 'Arrub, the great spring intended 
from time immemorial to supply Jerusalem with 



286 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

healthy water. ^ Sitting down at the small 
Kahwy, 2 we asked for coffee, and, whilst sipping 
the hot beverage, put questions. The Kah- 
wadjy told us that he had seen many troops 
passing, bands of camels loaded with wood, 
Karami, ^ charcoal, vegetables and grapes — an 
endless procession of people and things on their 
way to the Jerusalem market. He had noticed 
five men with four camels and a donkey ; they 
were armed and carried grapes in Shakadeef * — 
a curious way of transporting fruit — and, unlike 
the other passers-by, they were in a hurry. By 
the light of his dim lantern, he noticed that one 
of the men had a very dark and unkempt beard, 
and he thought that he recognised him to be 
from Dura, south of Hebron, where no grapes 
are grown. ' Allah yen ^al Abu-1-Khayen— God 
curse the father of the thief ! ' he added to him- 
self, and then, in a louder tone : * But I am no 
detective. You know the proverb : " Kuthur il 
'haki Khibi-wa-giletahu hiby,— Much talk is a 
nuisance ; little is respectful." ' 

" We had learnt enough. My father decided 
that it was best not to follow ; to have done so 
would probably have led to a fight, in which we 
should surely have been killed. So we returned 
home. . . . Two days later, some people of 

^ A work which Herod the Great partly carried out and which 
has been awaiting completion by a modern engineering genius 
for twenty centuries. 

* Roadside inn. ' Stumps. * Wooden cages. 



THE HEBRON MARKET 287 

Dura, with camels and Shakadeef, passed Hebron. 
We exchanged looks and both parties understood. 
But what redress had we ? To have taken the 
matter to the courts would have been mere waste 
of time and money. Where is the proof without 
Majidis ? No ; we knew of a better way than 
that of settling accounts. 

" On a market day, about a fortnight later, some 
of our Ghareem,! as we now called the thieves, 
came to Hebron to sell he-goats and Samn. My 
father went to ask them their prices, fully deter- 
mined to kick up a row. Butchers, tanners, 
grocers, Fellahin and Fellahat, and a few soldiers 
composed the dense crowd about the pool of 
Hebron, where all public transactions take place. 
The skins of the he-goats killed there ^ were sold 
to the tanners, who have a reputation for making 
the best Throuf,^ as well as the smaller Kirbies, 
in the whole country. Walking up to one of the 
Dura men whom he suspected of having been the 
leader of those who had deprived us of the pleasure 
of making Dibs that year, my father said he 
wanted a good big Tharf, * made of the skin of one 
of the he-goats of Dura, to put his Dibs in. And 
as he stated his requirements he looked wildly 
into our enemy's eyes. 

** ' In-sha- Allah,' replied the man ironically, 

* Antagonists. ^ Cf. II. Samuel iv. 12. 

* Large skin oil or water bottles. 

* Singular of Throuf. 



288 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

* I'll provide for your Dibs next year. I have 
good camels and . . . ' But before he had time 
to utter another word my father's Shibriy6 
flashed from its scabbard. 'It is this Tharf 
I want — Ya tais — Oh! he-goat!' exclaimed my 
father, as the long blade entered the rogue's body 
up to the very hilt. 

" In the confusion which followed, we escaped 
and at once left the town, taking with us a few 
of the most necessary articles of clothing. That 
evening we reached Beth-Jibrin, where my mother 
and sisters soon joined us with every portable 
household implement. But the people of Dura 
soon found out our retreat and we again moved to 
Gaza, where we had relatives. In our movements 
from place to place, we quickly came to know the 
country and people, and had no difficulty in finding 
opportunities for trade. After a time, however, 
we found that Gaza — a town we very much liked 
on account of its austere Moslem population, as 
yet free from foreigners — was not far enough away 
from our persecutors. So we set off once more, 
this time to Lydda, for we townsmen cannot easily 
live among the Fellahin. It is all right to be 
with them for a night or two, but we do not care 
to keep company with them longer. They have 
none of our habits. They live mostly on vege- 
tables and oil and dried fruit, whilst we townsmen 
like a good plate of Ma'hshy,^ with now and then 

^ Rice and hashed meat, rolled in vine leaves. 



TRADING IN VILLAGES 289 

yakhny^ and even bread. Besides, we are born 
traders, and it is only in towns that we can do 
good business by buying and selling goods. 

** When we were found out by the officials, 
continual bribery was the only way to get rid of 
them. By means of our Hebron relatives we sold 
our vineyard and our home, in order to pay, pay, 
pay — until we had nothing left. Then we were 
abandoned. But our Ghareem never detected us. 
In Lydda it was easier to pass unnoticed than in 
Gaza, where the darker Philisto-Egyptian popula- 
tion formed a striking contrast to people of our 
fair complexion. But Lydda contained too many 
Christians for our liking. EstabUshed long ago 
in the country, they were keen competitors in our 
trade. They not only carried shirting and silk. 
Abbas and shoes to the villagers on their donkeys, 
they even carried prickly pears and melons in 
the mountain villages round about. And so we 
again set off on our travels. Our next place of 
residence was the more Moslem town of Nablus. 
There the population more resembled the Hebron- 
ites ; they were stern believers, disdaining inter- 
course with the viler and poorer class of Christians ; 
and, besides, the town was an industrial one. If 
Hebron could boast of its glass bracelets, its big 
he-goat skins, and its fine grapes ; if Gaza was still 
the grainery of Palestine ; if Lydda was reputed 
for its oil markets and mat industry, Nablus could 

* Meat and vegetables. 



290 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

point with pride to its soap manufactories, one of 
the most important factors of the wealth of that 
prosperous inland town. Then we must not 
forget that the Zbeeb^ and Samn of Es-Salt, 
beyond Jordan, in addition to the Hauran wheat, 
stored there for further importation, have enriched 
many a Nablusite. 

" But the unsettled state of Palestine, due to 
strife among the Fellahin, hindered the country's 
free development and was the reason for our 
business being stopped for years. Once, when on 
a commercial journey to Jerusalem, we were 
robbed at 'Ain el ^Haramiyeh, half-way to that 
town, of all our goods. We appealed to a few 
powerful Shiukh of Selun (Shiloh), Sinjil ^ and Jibia 
(Gibeah), but found that it was better policy to 
* grin and bear it,' since the baksheesh was equiva- 
lent to a second robbery. Consequently we took 
other measures in future, and never went on 
j ourneys except in fairly large companies. 

" Now, the continual moving about and exile 
from our dear home had an ill-effect on my father's 
health, and thus, instead of being laid to rest in 
the Turby^ near our Haram, he had to be buried 
far from his native country. How we longed to 
return there ! The fertile valley of Nablus with 
its enormous nut-trees, the fruit of all kinds, 
the olive-groves out in the plain, the droves of 
cattle and sheep, roaming over the stubble, 

1 Raisins. ^ From the Crusader St. Gilles. ^ Cemetery. 



ANCIENT RITES 291 

continually reminded us of the neighbourhood of 
Hebron. A beautiful country indeed, but despite 
its beauty and the twelve springs which supply 
the town with an abundance of water, we could 
not forget our own town and district. Instead of 
the Siknaj ^ of Hebron, who form a lively part 
of the population of that town, we had the quiet 
and exclusive sect of Samaritans, the smallest 
religious community in the world, who go mys- 
teriously to their holy mountain on Gerizim and 
perform mysterious rites. In Hebron we possessed, 
besides the tombs of Abraham and Sarah (on 
whom be peace !), Abraham's oak, visited by 
thousands of Christians ; but in Nablus there is 
only Jacob's Well, a much less frequented shrine. 
" In course of time a Jerusalem family came to 
pass a few summer months in the cool valley and 
lived next door to us. The womenfolk became 
friends and we were invited to visit them when in 
Jerusalem. Our friendship ended in marriage. 
A young man of the family and myself exchanged 
sisters. Thus we aU went to live in Jerusalem, 
of which town I am now a citizen. And I trust, 
since it was not my father's privilege to lie near 
Sidna Ibrahim el Khaleel, it will be my lot to Uve 
and die near the Beit-el-Makdas, the second 
'Haram which he built after the Kaaba at Mecca, 
and before he constructed the third one at Hebron, 
and be buried away from home. I came near, 

1 Polish Jews. 



292 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

last night, to finding a grave in the sands of this 
district, but 'Ozrain^ spared me. II 'hamdu 
l-illah ! — Thanks be to God ! I have attended 
regular Friday services whenever I was in town. 
I have fasted the thirty days of every Ramadan 
since a boy of twelve. I have never omitted 
my regular five prayers a day. And when down 
with the fever or with ophthalmia, years ago 
in Hebron, or when half stunned by robbers, 
I never missed on the very next occasion recalling 
the omitted prayer. I have always tried to live 
in unpolluted quarters, away from Nasara^ and 
Franjis. I have never bought in their shops, 
though it is true they are very clean and neat, 
and contain better wares than those of my own 
people. But I believe in good old Islamitic ways ; 
and though you have now offered hospitality in 
such a kind way, this was written in the book from 
Eternity. It had to come to pass ; neither you 
nor I could help it. 

" Many are the transformations that have taken 
place in Palestine since the wild days of my youth, 
when travellers could hardly venture to the next 
village for fear of robbers who infested the country. 
The days of Fellah Sheikhdom are over. The 
Turkish authorities first set up order in the 
towns ; then in the provinces. Conscription has 
produced a great change. The Crimean War 

^ Or 'Ozrafl. The Arabs change the final n into /, or 
vice-vers§,, indifferently. 
2 Native Christians. 



MODERN INVASION 293 

gave rights to the Allies, the French and the 
English, and Christians poured in. Hebron, which 
until lately had never seen a Christian living in its 
precincts, has been lost to Islam. The fearful 
Jews have set up colonies here on this very plain, 
colonies such as Richon le Zion, Ekron and Katra, 
and so forth. The Prussians have splendid settle- 
ments about Jaffa, Jerusalem, Carmel, the Plains 
of Sharon and Esdraelon. AUah best knows why 
he allows foreign religions to come into this Holy 
Land, the land of Prophets and Welies." 

And lifting up his turban towards the skies, 
Hassan Yaseen cried to his God : — 

** Why have you rescued me from so many 
perils ; from the vineyard attack in Hebron, from 
battles between Kase and Yaman factions, from 
the dangers and accidents of the road — why have 
you let me live to see Islam, at least in the towns, 
almost giving way before the Franjis and their 
ideas ? " 

At this point of Hassan's story, ^Hadj Imham- 
mad came forward with a donkey which he had 
found feeding on the scanty Haifa leaves which 
grow in the sand. Our friend at once recognised 
the animal as the one he had been riding when 
the attack took place. His Bedawin assailants, 
after having robbed him of a few golden liras and 
his Abba, had taken the donkey away, but, 
probably finding the beast rather cumbersome for 
horsemen to steal, had abandoned it. Hassan was 



294 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

glad to recover his steed, which, since it belonged 
to a Mukari of Lydda, he would undoubtedly have 
had to pay for had it been lost. Now, he said, he 
would be able to return the animal to its owner, 
after he had reached Jerusalem. His future plans, 
he went on to say, were already made. Passing 
by Kariet-el-Eneb, he would visit the Sheikh el 
Enbowy, the representative KhaHfy of the Dsuki 
order, to whose Dervishes he had secretly belonged 
for many years, and would become a real Dervish 
with the outward and visible signs : the pointed 
woollen cap, the short spear, and the diplomas 
well in evidence. He would pass the remainder of 
his Ufe in or about Beit el Makdas, serving Allah ; 
and whenever the Muazzin called to prayers he 
would then and there pray. In short, he would 
lead a holy life, and read the Koran as much as he 
could, for, though he had read parts of the Book 
at the Kuttab at Hebron, he was not entitled to 
be called a full-fledged reader or Kari, a title which 
was only given to students who could read the 
114 Suras. 

Ill 
On the following day we set out with the embryo 
Dervish to take him at least as far as Ramleh, 
where he could find friends of his own religion, 
So intent was he on getting to the end of his 
journey that he remained silent and thoughtful 
almost the whole of the way. The villages of 
Zemuga, El-Kabu and others inhabited by 




By permission of 



The American Colony Photographers, Jerusalem 



Tower of Ramleh 



THE TOWER OF RAMLEH 295 

Egyptian colonists of Ibrahim Pasha's days held 
forth no attractions for him. Nor did he evince 
much interest when, riding through the fertile 
oases of Wad-Ihnain, where orange-gardens and 
sugar-canes grow, old ruined buildings showed that 
an older civilisation had passed that way before 
the town of Ramleh was built. Round every 
winding in the long sandy way leading to the fine 
olive-groves of Ramleh remains of the town were 
visible. There the Crusaders had fought hard to 
conquer the Holy Land ; there Saladin had again 
reconquered the plains. Then the stately tower 
of Ramleh, a last relic of its greatness under the 
Moslem, appeared in the distance. 

As we rode side by side through the prickly-pear 
hedged gardens — Moslem and Frank for once at 
peace — we reflected on the ups and downs in the 
history of this part of the country. Hassan, 
probably, dreamed of the restoration in Islam's 
name of all these decaying towns. We saw naught 
save decadence — the passing glory of the great 
Khalifs and Sultans, who won empires for Islam, 
and whose power was now to be renewed in the 
name of progress. But ultimately in whose 
favour ? Engineers passed us, measuring and 
making plans for a future railway from Jaffa to 
Jerusalem. Hassan Yaseen was sick of all these 
renewals. When the carriage way to Jerusalem 
was built in 1868 and carriages rolled into Jerusa- 
lem, he thought that with them Christianity and 



296 THE IMMOVABLE EAST 

Occidental progress had made its real entrance to 
the Beit el Makdas. But, lo and behold, a new 
invention replaced the old. What had this iron road 
and its noisy locomotives in store for the holy 
soil ? Oh ! that Allah would never allow him to 
live to see all these transformations. The future, 
judging by the past, looked very black to Hassan 
Yaseen. Where, he asked himself, were the 
'Abd-en-Nabis of the north, the Mustapha Abu- 
Ghoshes of the west, Mesleh el 'Azzy, Mohammed 
Dervish, the Salem Shakhturs, and the many 
mighty men of forty years ago who ruled the 
country and never submitted to the governors of 
Jerusalem ? ''Alas ! the old times are going and 
the new ones in no way embelUsh Islam," he said, 
ere he disappeared in the narrow, paved streets 
of Ramleh, which he preferred to the carriage road 
where hotels and modern coffee-houses abounded, 
with Franks, Jews and native travellers awaiting 
the departure of one of the Palestine coaches, 
driven by Jewish drivers. 




'tfeoryc IhUip * Stm ,i^ 



Sir Isaac PiUiLaii & Sou s ,L'.'^, 
London Sa Bath. 



Tkelimdffn Oecgn!ifi}doo2> Institui^^ 



INDEX 



Abba (Fellah mantle), 14, 15, 

54, 60, 129, 224, 289 
Abbasid dynasty, 252 
Abdallah Obey, 117 
Abdallah Saleh, 53, 54, 58 
Abd-el-Kareem, 64 
Abd-en-Nabis, 296 
Abd-er-Rahman el Helal, 218 
Abdul Medjid, 111 
Abdy, 235 
Abeyan (pure bred horses), 192, 

217 
Abigail, 279 

Abimelech, Intro, xvii, 197 n^ 
Abraham, Intro, xiv, xviii, 24, 

86, 93, 96, 214, 281, 284, 291 
Absalom's pillar, 237 
Abu Abed, 129 
Abu Baghel, 181 
Abu Braise (see Gecko), 18 
Abu Dib, 179, 189 
Abu-Dis, 218, 230, 232. 238, 245, 

246 
Abu Ehmar, 181 
Abu Fahed, 179 
Abu Ghirreh, 180 
Abu-Ghosh (Mustapha), 296 
Abu Ghrab, 195 
Abu-l-Ghrair, 186 
Abu Klabe, 181 
Abu-1-Haradin (mountain near 

Solomon's Pools), 21 
Abu-1-Ehseine, 180, 190 
Abu-1-Fataiess, 190 
Abu Madba, 179, 180 
Abu Sehan, 179 
Abu Sheeby, 179 
Abu Sliman, 176, 179 
Abu Tansar, 177 
Abu Tasbi, 177 
Abu Te'hsen, 181 
Abu Thor, 181 
Abu Zeid, mountain, near Urtas, 

113, 222 
Abu-Zemoor, 249 
Acca, Intro, xvii, 200 



Adam, 76, 79, 80, 81, 175 
, sons of, 78, 84, 153, 177, 

185 
Adama, 17 
Adder, deaf, 147 
Adonai, 84 

Aduan (tribe), 25, 33, 144, 208 
Aduany Bedawin, 148 
Adullam, 102 
Afarid (spirits), 92 
Africans, north, 279 
Agnus castus, 59, 279 
Ahab, 128 
Ai, King of, 16 
'Ain 'Arrub, 285 
'Ain Askala, 281, 283 
Ain-el 'Asafeer, 185 
'Ain el 'Haramiyeh, 290 
Ain-el-Haych, 185 
Ain esh-Shananeer, 186 
'Ain Etan, 100, continuation 

«3, 103, 109 
Ain Fashkhah, 232 
Ain Ghazaleh, 186 
'Ain Hamdeh, near Urtas, 112 
Ain-Jiddy, 185 
'Ain Rimmon, 103 and »' 
'Ain Saleh, 103, 109 
'Ain-Shams (Beth-shemesh) , 53 
'Ain-Sultan, 48 
'Ain Urtas, 103 and «» 
Ajalon (Yalo), 206 
Ajami, 76, 77, 78, 87, 88, 89, 

90, 91, 96 
'Ajur, 119 
'Akal or Agaal (Bedawi head 

cord), 37, 210 
Albanian, 199 
Alfred, Prince, son of Queen 

Victoria, 113 
Alhim (jan), 85 
AU, Sheikh Sidna, 72 
'AUa, 119, 218 

Ah-el-Thiab, 25, 142, 143,145,208 
Allah, Intro, xv, 50, 58, 76, 78j 

79, 81, 90, 175 



297 



298 



INDEX 



American colonists, 111 

Amorites, 3, 5, 91 

Amos, 3 

Angel, monstrous, 79 

Angel of Death, 82, 93 

Anglure, Baron d', 13 n^ 

Animals in Paradise, 86 

'Antar, 222 

Anti-Lebanon, 140 

Antioch, 107 n« 

Apiaries, 279 

Apocalyptical dragon, 94 

Apple of Sodom, 41 

Arab (modern), 247 

Arab sultans, 109 

Arafat. 16 «i, 19, 63 

Arabia, 5, 83, 177, 193, 213 

Arnold, Matthew, quoted, 98 

Arnon, 106 

Ascalon, 56 

Asclepia gigantea, 40, 41 

Ash Allheem, 187 

Ashan, 103 «3 

Ashdod, 52, 57, 281 

Ashteroth, Intro, xv, 81, 130 

Assyria, Intro, xvii 

'Atareen, Harat-el, 212 

Athene (Philip Baldensperger's 

mare), 48 
'Attar, 238 
'Auja, river, 72 
Aurora, 129 
Azazmeh Arabs, 153 
Azizis, 175, 179 

Baal, Intro, xiv, xv, 5, 81, 88, 

89, 90. 93, 96. 265. 275 
Baal, prophets of, 88 
Baal-zebub, 72 
Bab-el-'Amud, 242 
Bab Sitti Mariam, 237 
Babylon, 71, 72 
Badariyeh, 129, 130, 134 
Badger, 180, 186 
Baftu Hindi (song), 270 
Bagdad, 252 
Bairak, 195 

Bakoosh, near Urtas, 112 
Balkans, 276 
Bard, 221 

Basel Spittler Mission, Intro, viii 
Bashan, 149 



Batn el-Ekra', 106 

Bats, 180 

Battir, 60, 61, 66 

Bawardi, 119 

Bazaar, 213, 237 

Bear, 179 

Beauty, Bedawiy6, 225 

Bedariyeh (Moslem Aurora), 

Intro. XV 
Bedawi clothing, 36 
Bedawi dervish, 72 
Bedawi Rascheidy, 148 
Bedawi song, 24 
Bedawi warrior, 29 
Bedawin agriculturists, 139 
Bedawin (Bedouins), Intro, viii, 

X, 1 «i, 10. 17, 24-49, 99, 

115 
Bedawin country, 23, 49 
Bedawiyat, 28, 37, 274 
Bedawiy6, 46 
Bedu (see Bedawin), 1 w^ 
Beersheba. Intro, xvii, 24. 103 

«3. 153 
Bees, 21, 90, 185, 278 
Beit Dejan, 73 
Beit-'Etab, 109 
Beit-ej-Jmal, 185 
Beit el Makdas, 87, 291, 294, 

296 
Beit-Mahsir, 76, 81, 96 
Beit-Jibrim. 288 
Beni Adam, 194 
Beni Ehmar, 186 
Beni-Israel, 249 
Beni-Sakher, 149, 245 
Benton. Frank, U.S. bee-keeper, 

Intro. X, xi 
Benjamin, 197 
Beshlik, 134 
Bethany, 15, 218, 240 
Bethel, Intro, xvii, 16, 187, 241 
Bether, 60 
Bethlehem. Intro, x, xvii, xviii, 

25, 99 »», 100. 102. 104, 105, 

106, 107, 116, 218. 256, 257 
Bethlehemite women, 119 
Beth-Nimreh, 190 
Beth Safafa, 128, 133, 134 
Beth-Sahur, 17 
Beth-shemesh, 53 
Beth-Tamar, 17 



INDEX 



299 



Beybars, Sultan, 26 « ^ 

Beyrack (holy standard), 265 

Beyrut, Intro, xi 

Bible heroes, 102 

Biblical curses, 17 

Biblical Researches in Palestine, 

Robinson's, 99 «*, 111 
Birds, 40 

Bir el-Arwah (Well of Souls), 94 
Bir-ez-Zeibak, 73 
Birket-ej-Jamoos, 186 
Birket es- Sultan, 95 
Blanchegarde, 279 
Bliss, Dr. F. J., American 

Archaeologist, Intro, xiii 
Blood on door-posts, 271 
Boars, 41, 48, 180, 186 
Bonaparte, 199, 200 
Bowaab (black janitor of 

Takrur), 61 and «i, 63 
Bracelets, 233 
Braise, Abu (or Gecko), 18 
Brazen serpent, 145 
Bread and salt, 281 
Buffalo, 180, 186 
Burka, 197, 201 
Buzzard, 180 
Byarat, 191 

Cairo, 252 

Cairo, Citadel of, 200 n^ 

Calem (pen), 247 

Caletropis procera, 40 

Calirrhoe, 40, 107 

Camels, 24, 52, 58, 185, 269 

Camp Ufe, 34 

Canaan, Intro, xvi, 261 

Canaanites, Intro, xiv, 3, 4, 93, 

130 
Carines (Greek legend), 89 «* 
Carmel, Mt., Intro, xv, 87, 275, 

293 
Cats. 171, 180 
Cavalry, Turkish, 215 
Cemetery, Jewish, 237 
Cemetery, Mohammedan, 68 
Chameleons, 181 
Chastians, 108 
Cheetahs, 31 and nS 41, 45 
Cherith, Brook, 149 
Chinese mythology, 89 «^ 
Christ, Intro, xv 



Christianity, 83 

Christian King of Jerusalem, 107 

Christian missions, 108 

Christians, 82. 88, 256, 283, 293 

Christmas, 283 

Church of Nativity, 106 

Church of the Garden, Urtas, 

108 
Citadel of Cairo, 200 n ^ 
Cities of the Plain, 17 
Clermont-Ganneau, Professor, 

26 «i 
Cobra di capello, 146 
Coffee-house, 62, 212 
Colonists, American, 111 

, German. Ill 

Colony. German, 66 

Colubridae, 145 

Conder. Claude Reignier. author 

of Tent Work in Palestine, 

Intro, viii, 1 n^ 272 
Congress. Animals', 176 
Conies. 180, 186 
Conscription. 292 
Convent, Greek, of Elijah, 127 
Convent, Latin, 130, 133 
Convent of St. George, 261 
Convent of St. Mary of the 

Garden, Urtas, 108 
Corsican, the great, 200 
Cow-camel, 45 
Creator of the Universe, 78 
Crimean War, 292 
Crocodile, 181, 186 
Croesus. 16 
Crusaders. 54, 107 ««, 114, 279, 

295 
Crusaders' Church, 113 
Curtiss, S. S., Chicago Professor, 

Intro, xiii 
Cymbals, 259 

Daboia Viper. 35, 146, 147. 

148, 150, 181 
Dagon, the Temple of, 73 
Dair-Dubban, 186 
Dair esh-Sheikh, 90 
Damascus. 64, 209, 216, 227, 

252, 272 
Damascus Gate, Jerusalem, 61, 

89, 242 
Damascus road, 65, 69 



300 



INDEX 



Damieh bridge, 26 n^ 

Dan, 177 

Dancing, 233, 271 

David, Intro, ix, 53, 91, 102, 

103, 250, 272, 275, 279 
David's Gate, Jerusalem, 237 
David's harp, 258 
Dead Sea, Intro, xvi, 39, 40, 42, 

87, 91, 99 and m«, 107, 140, 

148, 180, 208, 219, 232, 238 
Deborah, 207 
Deir el Banat, 107, 108 
Deluge, 176 
Dervish, 72-97, 146, 265, 275, 

277, 294 
Desert of Judah, 105, 136, 277 
Dibs, 283, 287 
Djebel-el-Khaleel, 285 
Djebel - esh - Sheikh (Hermon), 

99and»i, 179 
Dogs, 186 

Dom-apples, 36, 37, 232 
Dom-meal, 35 
Dom or Lotus tree {Zizyphus 

spina Christi), 34, 35, 139, 

144 
Dome, sacred, 68 
Donkey, 186 
Dothan, 24 

Dragomans, Intro, xiv 
Draper's street, 212 
Duff (timbrel), 249, 251, 259, 

262, 271, 275 
Dung Gate, Jerusalem, 67 
Dura, 204, 286, 287 
Durbukky, 259 

Eagles, 180 

Eastern lovers, 220 

Eastern luxuries, 236 

Easter songs, 257 

Ebal, Intro, xv, 208 

Ebn-Obeid, 17 

'Ebr-en-Nisr, 185 

Eden, 79 

Edom, desert of, 153 

Edomite princess, 103 

Edomites, 105 

'Eed il Milady (Christmas), 283 

Egypt, Intro, xvii, 24, 88, 199, 

200 
Egypt, song of, 269 



Egyptian colonists, 295 
Egyptian princess, 103, 198, 201, 

206, 273 
Egypt, river of, 201 
Ehmad, 39 

Ehmad, Abu, the Fellah, 7, 8 
Ehmad Jabber, 52, 53, 58, 

64 
Ekron, 72, 293, 279 
Eleagnus angustifolius, 42 
Eleazar, 55 

Elijah, Greek Convent of, 127 
Ehjah the Tishbite, Intro, xiv, 

XV, 12, 66, 87, 265 
El Arroub, 105 
El-Azhar (Cairo), 252 
El Badawi (leadex of Dervish 

order), 79 
El Dsuki (leader of Dervish 

order), 79, 294 
El Enbowy, 294 
El Erfa'i (leader of Dervish 

order), 79, 146 
El Ghor, 99 
El Hammam, 106 
El Kabu, 294 
El Kadri (leader of Dervish 

order), 79 
El Khadr (St. George), 87, 261 
El Kuds esh Shareef (Jerusalem), 

78, 94 
Emmaus, 107 
Endor, witch at, Intro, xiv 
Engedi. 190 
Engiddy, 17 
Ephraim, 180 
Er-Rahib, 93 
'Esa (Jesus), 82 
Esculap, 35, 145, 181 
Esdraelon, 23, 24, 293 
Esdud (Ashdod), 281 
Etam, 57, 99 n», 100, 103, 104, 

106 
Ethmane Abd-el-Hei, 52, 53, 

57 
Ethmane el-Lahame, 200 
Euphrates, 177, 187 
Eve, 76, 80 
Evil eye, 122 
Executions, 16 

Fabri, Felix, 105 «« 



INDEX 



301 



Faghur, in Wady el Biar, 112 

Fardies, 43. 44 

Fatme, 52 

Fate (Naseeb), 75 

Fate, 248, 282 

Fatiha, 129 

Fauna and Flora, 17 

Feast of Booths, 256 

Fellah, Intro, viii, x, 1-16 and 

n\ 1, 18, 24, 25, 27. 35, 39, 

44. 48, 54. 55, 57, 61. 64, 66 
Fellaha, 33. 250 
Fellahat. 28, 44, 61 
Fellah-el-Hitr, 24 
Fever. 292 

Fiddle, one-stringed, 221 
Finjan 'Kahwy (poisoned 

coffee-cup). 216 
Finn. Mr., British Consul at 

Jerusalem, 113 
Fleas. 186 
Flies. 186 

Flora in August, 279 
Fortuna, 74 

Fountain, sealed, 103, 262 
Fox (Abu Sliman), 176 
Fox, 186 
Francolins, 40 
Franji, 74 

Franjis, 281, 292. 293 
Frank, 37, 91 
Frank mountain, near Urtas, 

105. 112 
Freer, A. Goodrich, Author of 

Inner Jerusalem, Intro, xiii 
French. 293 

Friday Fair. Jerusalem. 237, 239 
Frogs. 40 
Frogs of Jericho, 139 

Gabriel, Angel, 19. 95. 192 
Galilee. 149 

Gardens of Solomon. 98-114 
Gaza, Intro, x, xvii, 52, 56, 88. 

153. 278, 288, 289 
Gazelles, 180. 186 
Geba, 103 «« 
Gecko {Ptyodactylus hassel- 

quisii). 18, 181 
Gederoth (Katra). 279 
Gehazi. Intro, xvii 
Genii (Jan), Intro, xiv. 75 

at — (2131) 



Gerizim. 208 

Gerizim, Mt.. 291 

Gethsemane. 241 

Gezer. 104 

Ghalie. 33, 39 

Ghaliun (pipe). 38 

Ghazu (marauding excursions), 

23, 152. 191. 210 
Ghareem, 115.287. 289 
Ghawarneh Bedawin, 179, 243 
Ghul. 86. 92 
Gibeah, Intro, xviii 
Gihon, Pool of, 95 n« 
Gilboa, 275 
Gipsies, 261 
Girdle, history of the, in the 

East, 12 and 13 n^ 
Girls, dancing, 262 
Glass bracelets, 289 
Goats, 23 

Gobat, Bishop, Intro, ix 
Gods, 81 
Goliath, 53 272 
Golden Gate, Jerusalem, 64, 

67 
Golden Calf. 271 
Gomorrah. 17. 41 
Gospel (Ingile), 82 
Graineries, 23 
Grainery of Palestine. 289 
Grapes of Eshcol, 282 
Grapes (Hamdany), 60 
Greece, Intro, xvii 
Greek convent, 237. 241 
Greeks, Intro, xv, 91 
Greek ossuary. 94 
Greengrocer. 131 
Guardian spirits. 86 
Gublem Sheikh, 213 

Hadj Abdallah. 234 

Hadj Imhammad Abu Bekr. 

63 
Hadr, 191 
Hadrabad. 270 
Hagar, 32 
Hajeen. 180 

Hakimy (doctoress). 282 
Halawy, Harat el, 213 
HaUm6, 52 

Hamdany (Palestine grapes), 60 
Hamdiyeh, 34 



302 



INDEX 



Hamulies (groups of families), 

115 
Hamzy. Sheikh, 281 
Hanash, 35, 145, 195 
Haram, Jerusalem, 68, 230. 290, 

291 
Hardon (Stellio-agamide lizard), 

1 and «!, 2, 18-22, 59, 
Haroot, the Angel, 71, 76 
Hassanbaki (tobacco), 38 
Hassan, Ehmad, 117 
Hattin. 105 «», 108 
Hauran, 290 

Hawi (serpent-charmers), 4 
Hazazon-Tamar, 17 
Head veil, 34 
Hebrew Bible. 72 
Hebrews, 4, 5, 91, 95 
Hebron bracelets, 233 
Hebron, Intro, x, xvii, 88, 109, 

110, 281, 284 
Hedgehog, 180 
Hegira, 18, 19, 87 
He-goat skins, 287 
'Heisoon, 192 
Helwy, 119, 234 
Hemyarite dynasty, 259 
Hermon, Mt., 25, 99, 140. 198, 

286. 291 
Herod the Great, 104. 105. 106. 

107, 286 ni 
High places, 81 
Hinnom. Valley of. 67, 94, 95, 

103 «* 
Hittites, 3, 5 
Hivites. 3. 4 
Holy rock. 265 
Honey, thyme, 100 w^ 
Horses, 180, 185, 192 
Horsemen, Bedawin, 208 
Hortus Conclusus, 107 
Houris, 80 
Hyanas, 144, 151, 160, 164, 

179, 182, 185, 279 
Hymettus, Mt, 100 n^ 

Ibex, 180. 185, 190 
Iblis (see Satan), 78, 79, 91 
Ibrahim-et-Taiesh, 116, 128 
Ibrahim Pasha, 111, 200, 206, 
Ichneumon, 180, 279, 295 
Imhammad-et-Talak, 25, 35 



Im-Imhammad. 42, 43, 47 

Indians. 123 

Inglle (the gospel). 82 

In-sha-Allah. 97 

Isaac. 24, 284 

Isaiah, Intro, xiv 

Ishmael, 32, 86, 93 

Ishmaelites, 213 

Islam. 5, 6, 80, 293 

Islam, holy colours of, 80 

Israel, children of, 66. 213 

Israelites. 3, 5, 86, 105, 130, 

136, 252, 277 
Israelitic tombs, 206 

Jabbar, 4 
Jabber, 123 
Jabber-es-Saleh, 128 
Jabburim (or Rephaims), 4 
Jacob, Intro, xviii, 16 «*, 24, 

251 
Jacob's Well, 291 
Jaffa, Intro, x, xvii, 56, 60, 96, 

201. 281, 293 
Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem, 16 n^, 

61, 67, 131 
JahaUne Arabs, 153 
Jan, 37, 41, 75, 79, 81, 83, 84, 

85, 87, 88, 90, 93 
Jarrab, 191 
Jackal, 34, 57, 139, 144, 151, 

170, 180, 276, 279. 
Jamel ed Din ebn Nahar, 26 
Jehunum (Hell), 80 
Jerboas, 48 
Jerusalem railway, 60 
Jews, 81, 82, 84, 89, 105, 256, 

257. 283, 291 
Jebel 'Arafat, 19 
Jebusites, 3, 4, 5, 91 
Jehovah, Intro, xiv, 17, 85, 103, 

250, 273 
Jephthah's daughter, 252, 262 
Jeremiah, Intro, xviii, 3, 31 
Jericho, 17, 48, 139. 141, 143, 

144, 243 
Jerusalem, Intro, x, xv, xvii, 

15, 49, 50. 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 

70, 76, 87, 95, 99 n», 103 n», 

104, 106, 108, 109, 110, 113, 

115, 220, 229, 230, 235, 239, 

250, 256, 269, 281, 286, 293 



INDEX 



303 



Jesus Hilf, 126 

Jesus, 87, 107 

Jewish colonies, 279 

Jewish fortress, 17 

Jezreel, 23 

Jibia (Gibeah), 290 

Job's Well, 126 

Jonadab, 8 

Jonah, 19 ni, 86 

Jonas, Prophet, 278 

Jonathan, 275 

Jones, D. A., U.S. bee-keeper, 

Intro. X 
Jordan, Intro, x, 23. 25-31, 33, 

41, 44, 45, 46, 48, 49, 99, 128, 

140. 147, 208, 243, 280 
Joseph, Intro, xviii, 284 
Joseph and his Brethren, 262 
Tosephus, 40, 103 and «», 104 
Joshua, Intro, xiv, 3, 16 
Jrab (leather bag), 66 
Jubal, 248 
Judaea, 24, 48 
Judaean village, 233 
Judah, mountain of, 278 
Judah, 4, 91, 96, 103 n», 105, 

109 
Judah, desert of, 91, 105, 277 
Judges, tombs of, 94 
Judgment Day, 72, 80, 83, 88, 

193 
Julfa, 192 
Jumad the First, 26 
Junis, Naby, 278 
Jum el Wawy, 186 

Kaaba, 83, 176, 263, 291 

Kadri, El Oioly order of), 79 

Kadriye, 218 

Kafer (Infidel), 132 

Kafir (agriculturist, inhabitant 

of the Kefr), 5 
Kafiye (Bedawi head-dress) , 37, 

210 
KafErain, 31, 33. 35, 36, 39, 44 
Kaftan, 119 
Kahwadji (coffee-house keeper), 

62, 131, 286 
Kaiat el-Burak, 101 
Kamanjy (fiddle), 258 
Kanoot (harp), 251, 258 
Karassat, 191 



Kariny (evil spirit), 89 and n' , 

90 
Kari (scholar), 294 
Kaseedy, 248, 259 
Kedar, tents of, 151 
Kedeesh, 180, 191 
Kedron, 48, 91, 93, 237 
Kerak, 272 
Kersanne, 191 
Kesi (tribe), 110 
Khadr, El (St. George), 87, 124, 

192 
Khalawy, 192 
Khaleef, 146 
Khaleel. 39 

Khaleel Abu-1-Ghreir, 116 
Khaleel Ibrahim, 51, 52, 53, 

55, 58, 59, 120 
Khalet eth Theeb, 186 
Khamsy, 192 
Khan, 132, 238, 245 
Khanafer, 42 
Khateeb (village priest), 11, 

120, 124 
Khatify, 243 
K'hailane, 217 
K'hailet (pure-bred), 212 
K'harlet el-'Ajouss, 217 
Khirbet el Asad, 186 
Khirbet el Wahar, 186 
Khirbet, Na'hleh 185 
Khirbet el-Khokh. 100, con- 
tinuation «', 103 
Khirby (ruin), 1 n^ 
Khirkah (head-dress), 13 
Khurshud Pasha, 208 
King of Beasts, 177, 178 
King of Birds, 177, 178 
King of trees, 178 
Kirby (leather water-bottle), 

1 «i, 9, 10, 28 and n^. 29, 

30, 44, 287 
Kohl, 225 

Koran, 71, 80, 96, 115 
Kowthar (river in Eden), 79 
Krad (spirits), 92 
Kuds esh-Shareef (Jerusalem), 

78 

Laban, 16 n^ 

Labban, 235 

Land of Prophets. 293 



304 



INDEX 



Lapis infernalis (Kutra), 282 
Lea, 284 

Lebanon, 25, 140, 178 
Leopards, 60. 179, 186, 190 
Leprosy, 18 

Leproserie de St. Lazare, 126 
Lime-kiln, 268 
Literature (Arab), 252 
Lizards, 17 
Lotus-tree, 35 
Lot, 87 

Lot, Sea of, 91 

Lubbaad (article of dress), 52 
Lusignan, Guy of, 108 
Lydda, 73, 186, 197, 206, 207, 
288. 289 

Macalistek, R. a. Stewart, 
Author of The Excavation of 
Gezer, Intro, xiii 

Machabees, 91 

Macpelah, Intro, xvii 

Madani, 63 

Magic, Books of, 72 

Mahmood II, Sultan, 111 

Ma'hshy. 288 

Makam (High-place), 5, 6, 87 

Malaria, 40, 49, 279 

Malha, 66 

Mamaluke, 200 

Mamilla, 91, 273 

Mamilla (Pool of), 89 

Mared, 92 

Mar Elias, 127 

Mandeel (handkerchief), 233 

Marauders, 279 

Maritime Alps, 98 

Maroot, the Angel, 71, 76 

Mary, son of, 82 

Mary Magdalene, 83 

Marghub, 192 

Marriages, 272 

Marshes, 279 

Market at Hebron, 287 

Masada, 17 

Mashani, 115 

Mastiguer, 17, 40 

Mat industry. 289 

Maundrell, writer on Palestine, 
101 

Mawaal (song), 263, 274 

Mazmoor (psalm), 251, 275 



Mecca, 5, 63, 83, 87, 95. 192 

263, 291 
Medina, 5 

Mediterranean, 98, 140, 204 
Mehjam6 (hooked almond stick) 

14 «i, 73 
Mehemet Ali, 199, 200 
Me'hla (dance), 262 
Me'hloot, 272 
Mehrab (prayer-niche), 77 
Melchizedek, Intro, xvi, 214 
Merom, 177 
Meshullam, Mr., 106, 111, 113, 

114 
Meshullam, Mr. Peter, 112 and 

Messiah, 257 

Mesleh el'Azzy, 296 

Micah, 3, 21, 22«» 

Michal, 273 

Middle Ages, 109 

Millet, Syrian, 204 

Miriam, 248, 252 

Moab. Intro, x, 23, 25, 33, 99, 

128, 144. 147, 245 
Moabite princess, 103 
Mo'alakat, 263 
Mohammed, Intro, xv, 5, 18, 54, 

87, 89, 94. 192 
Moloch, 93, 95 
Moon worship. 264 
Moosa. 122 

Moriah, Intro, xvii, 48, 86 
Moroccans, 279 
Moses, 73, 81, 85, 86. 218. 219. 

273 
Mosque of Omar, 68 
Mosque of Urtas, 109 
Mosque of Jerusalem, 109 
Mosque of the Holy Rock, 236 
Moslems, 82, 88, 91 
Mosquitoes. 29, 139, 176. 279 
Motawakkil, Caliph, 12 »* 
Mough arid-Khalid, 106 
Mourning songs, 263, 274 
Muhammad Moosa, 50, 51, 52. 

55, 57, 58, 66 
Muhammet-el Misleh, 200 
Mu'hrab, 150 
Mukari. 294 
Murra (warrior), 259 
Musical instruments, 259 



INDEX 



305 



Mustapha Abu Ghosh, 200 
Mustapha Shahini, 120 

Naaman, Intro, xvii 

Nablus (Neapolis). 208, 210, 

211, 289, 290, 291 
Naboot, 29, 53, 102, 123, 280 
Naboth, 138 n 2 
Nabi-Ibrahim, 281, 282 
Naby Daoud (tomb of David), 

91 
Naby-Moosa, 219, 265 
Naby-Rubin, 72 
Nahal, 279 
Na'hash, 145, 195 
Nahr Barghut, 186 
Nahr-el-Kalb, 186 
Nahr-et-Tamsa'h, 186 
Nahr Rubin, 278 
Nahr Sukreir, 278 
Naker (examining angel), 124 
N'amy, 34 
Napoleon I, 199 
Narghile, 62 
Nasara, 292 
Naseeb, 282 
Nasra, 202 
Nazarenes, 257 
NeapoUs (Nablus), 208 
Necromancer, 260 
Nehemiah, 103 n^, 273, 275 
Neiye, 32, 58, 102, 117. 194, 249. 

251. 259, 262, 275 
Nejd, 192, 249 
Nekb el-Khale, 185 
New moon solemnities, 277 
Nimrin, 144, 185, 208 
Nineveh, 83 

Nker (examining angel), 124 
Noah, 176, 248 
No'h (song), 263, 274 
Nowairi (Arab historian), 26 n ^ 
Nuns' Convent (Urtas), 107 

Oak tree, 181 
Oak. Abraham's, 291 
Obeidiye (nomadic tribe). 17 w* 
Occidental progress, 296 
Oleaster {Eloeagnus angusti- 

folius), 42 
Olives, Mount of. 15. 89, 91, 

95, 104, 140, 236, 240 

2IA — (2I31) 



Olivet. Mt.. 48 

Olive groves, 295 

Omar. Mosque of. 68 

Omar Ibn Khattab. Khalif, 109, 

265 
Omar. Mosque of, 68, 230 
Omniad dynasty. 252 
Ophel. 67 

Ophidians, family of, 145 
Ophthalmia, 282 
Orange gardens, 295 
Oriental sagacity. 252 
'Oshair (see Asclepia gigantea), 

41 
Ostrich feathers, 141 
Othman, Abu, 7 
Ottoman pound, 120 »?* 
Owls, 181 
'Ozrael (Angel of Death), 82, 93, 

94, 292 

Palestine coaches, 296 
Palestine Exploration Fund. 

Intro, xiii. 26. 99 
Paradise, 76, 83, 173, 175 
Pentateuch (Torah). 71 
Perez (village), 4 
Perizzites, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 
Phantoms. 91 
Pharaoh. Intro, xvii 
Philip's Well (near Welejeh). 61 
PhiUstia. Intro, x. 52, 153, 187 
Philistines, 56, 57, 73 
Pipes, 39 

Plain of Esdraelon. 293 
Plain of Salem, 214 
Plain of Sharon. 72. 140. 293 
Plain of Sittim, 144 
Plain of Rephaim, 57, 66 
Platon, Hugues, quoted, 108 
Pomegranates. 101, 283 
Prayer-niche. 150 
Prickly pears. 289 
Proverbs, 24, 44, 153, 155, 157. 

158, 161, 164, 168, 170. 171, 

172. 173 
Psanimosaurus scincus, 17 
Ptyodactyhis hasselquisH, 18 

Quarterly Statement. Palestine 
Exploration Fund. Intro. xU, 
xiii, 26 « 1, 272 



306 



INDEX 



Queen Victoria, 113 

Rababy (fiddle), 223, 250, 258, 

259, 263 
Rabbins, 99 
Rabee, 98, 99, 121, 191 
Rachel, Intro, xiv, 15, 119 
Rachel's tomb, 123, 136. 273 
Rauwolffus, Dr. Leonardus, 

botanist, quoted, 109 
Ravens, 276 
Razek, Abu, father of town and 

city traders, 7 
Railway to Jerusalem, 60 
Ralston, Philip, 139 
Ramadan, 80, 173, 292 
Ramleh, 73, 88, 294, 295 
Rams, flock of, 169 
Rasads (guardian spirits), 86, 

90, 92 
Rebecca, 15 

Redeemer, Convent of the, 133 
Red Sea, 81, 248 
Rephaims, 3, 4 
Rephaim, Plain of, Intro, xv, 

57, 66, 127 
Rehoboam, 99 n », 105 
Reuben, Prophet, 278 
Rhamnus nabeca, 144 
Rib'i, 115 
Richon-le-Zion, 293 
Robinson, Edward, Biblical Re- 
searches in Palestine, quoted, 

99n3, 111 
Rock, Holy, 265 
Rod of Moses, 73 
Romans, Intro, xv, 91, 106 
Rome, Intro, xvii 
Roses, Valley of the, 61 
Rubin, Naby, 72 
Rubin (river), 72, 278 
Ruins, 16 and n i, 17, 276 
Ruth, 25 

Sa'ada, 120 

Sa' ad-el- Kanaas, 39, 41 

Sabe (the Lion), 164 

Sabeel, 128 

Safed, Intro, xv, 88 

Sahak (dance), 271 

Sa'hjy (dance), 121, 270, 271 

Saiara (processions), 265 



Said el-Ma* ati, 221, 246 
Said-es-Saleh, 130 
Sakhra (Holy Rock). 94, 265 
Saklawy, 192 
Saladin, 108, 295 
Saleh-el-Kaak, 25. 26. 34, 39 
Salem er Ra'hmane, 1 18 
Salem, Plain of. Intro, xvi. xvii, 

214 
Salem Shakhtur. 296 
Samson. 57 
Samn, 165. 287. 290 
Samaritan Jews. Intro, xv. 208 
Samuel, Intro, xiv, xviii 
Sand-partridges, 40 
Saracenic castle (Urtas). 101 
Saracens. 108 
Sarah, Intro, xviii, 121. 197 «^ 

284. 291 
Sar'ah. 204 
Sarrar, Wad-es, 57 
Satan (Esh-Shit4n er-Rajeem), 

16 n 1, 75. 76 
Saul, Intro, xiv, 120, 272, 273, 

275 
Sawahry (nomadic tribe), 17 n*, 

245 
Saye (part of Bedawi clothing), 

36, 37 
Schmaar, 14 and n^, 52, 54 
Sealed fountain (Urtas), 103 
Sea of Lot, 91 

Se'in (small Kirby or water- 
bottle), 44, 47 
Seir, 110 

Selim (Shiloh), 290 
Senegal doves. 34 
Sentinels. Turkish, 67 
Seraiya, 118, 132 
Serpent, Brazen, 145 
Serpents, 176, 185 
Seville, 192 
Shaale (cloak). 54, 210 
Shabbaby (wind instrument), 

259 
Shahini, 115. 120 
Shairim (satyrs). 81. 82, 92 
Sharkiye (East wind). 36 
Sharon, 23, 24, 72 
Shaiateen, 91 
Shechem, 208 
Sheep, fat-tailed, 23 



INDEX 



307 



She'er (poetry). 264. 272, 273 

Sheikh 'Awad, 122 

Sheikh Hamzy, 282 

Sheikh Salem, 119 

Sheikh Sidna 'Ali, 72 

Sheikh. 11 

Sherif Moosa, 50, 54. 57 

Shibriyeh (double-edged dagger), 

53, 241, 288 
Shittim, 23 
S'hoon (cymbals), 259 
Shushey (hair-tuft), 54 
Shuweikeh (Shochoh). 53. 54, 

279 
Siddim. Plain of, Intro, xvi 
Sidr (Dom-apples), 144 
Siknaj (Pohsh Jews), 291 
Siloam, 15, 26, 27, 95, 126, 237, 

240 
Sinai, 249 
Sinai, Mt, 85 
Sinjil (St. Gilles), 290 
Sisters, Catholic, 126 
Sisters, Protestant, 126 
Sitti Mariam, 241 
Sittim, Plain of, 144 
Sit-Ikhwithah, 197 
Slaughtering place, 168 
Sliman, 120 
Small-pox. 261 
Smugglers, 64 
Snoonoo, 178 
Sodom, 17, 41 
Solomon, 71, 82, 86, 87, 90, 99 

«», 103. 104, 186 
Solomon, Gardens of, 98-114 
Solomon's Pools, Intro, x, 21, 

100. continuation n'. 101, 

106, 109, 110, 114, 115, 118 
Solomon, Song of, 60, 100 n\ 

101 
Solomon, throne of, 71 
Songs and dances. 247 
Song of Joseph. 275 
Soofara (wind instruments), 259 
Sorek. vale of (Wad-es-Sarrar). 

57 
Sonfaan, 51 
Sour milk, 240 
Sparrows. 185 
Squills, 277 
Steeds. Arab. 217 



Stellio cordilina, 18 

St. George, 73. 87. 262 

St. Jean d'Acre. 108 

St. Mary's Gate, 237 

St. Stephen's Gate, Jerusalem, 

65, 67, 69, 237 
Stones, witness, 16 n * 
Stradivarius, 250 
Sugar-cane. 295 
Suk el 'Attarin. 234, 238 
Suk el-Khawajat. 240 
Suk el-Lahamin, 234, 238 
Sultan Wakham (malaria), 279 
Suras (the 114). 294 
Surma (sheep-leather shoes), 

54 
Swallow, 176 
Swelem, Abu, 7 
Syrian millet, 204 

Ta'amry (nomadic tribe), Intro. 

ix, nii\ 110, 111, 115, 119, 

273 
Tabon (oven), 22 
Tacitus, 40 
Tahleel (prayers), 277 
Takiyeh (white cap), 51 
Takrur, 61 
Tancred, 107 
Tanib, 116 
Tanour, 109 
Tarbush, 13, 52. 55 
Tarsha, 146, 147 
Tekoa, 17, 99k». 105. 112 
Tell-el Ehseiny, 186 
Tell-el-Kadi, 177 
Tell-es-Safi (Blanchegarde), 279 
Templars, 108 
Temple, 67, 70. 236 
Thab or Mastiguer {Uromastix 

spinipes), 17 and 18 
Thar. 116. 118 
Themudians. 93 
Thob (shirt), \n^, 11, 17, 51, 

55, 69, 119 
Throuf (skin bottles). 287 
Tiberias. 85. 107 
Timbrel (duff), 249, 251, 277 
Tobacco, 35, 37, 57, 58, 144 
Tobba Hassan, 259 
Tochen, 103 w» 
Tombak (Persian tobacco), 62 



308 



INDEX 



Tomb-caves, 205 

Torah (Pentateuch), 71, 81, 84, 

248 
Tower of Ramleh, 295 
Trading in villages, 289 
Trans jordanic region, 141-147 
Treacle, 283 
Tribes of Israel, 248 
Tribunal at Jerusalem, 124 
Tristram, Canon, Fauna and 

Flora of Palestine, 17 «' 
Tubbar (iron-headed club), 55 
Tunis, 249 
Turban, brown, 54 
Turban, green, 52 
Turtle-doves, 34, 144 
Turkish army, 199 
Turkish Government, 57, 282, 

292 
Turks, 57, 270 
Typewriter (ungodly), 247 
Tyrian purple, 104 

Ululation, 121 «!, 231, 272 
Universe, Creator of, 78 
Uromastix spinipes, 18 
Urtas, Intro, viii, x, 99 and n ', 
100 and n\ 101, 103-126 

Vale of Sorek, 57, 278 
Valley of the Roses, 61, 128 

of Hinnom, 67 

of the Mills, 106 

of Urtas, 106 

of the Wells, 106 

Van der Velde, Narrative of a 
Journev through Syria and 
Palestine in 1851 and 1852, 
112 «» 

Vegetables, 286 

Veil, 234 

Venetians, introduce vegetables 
into Palestine, 113 

Venus, 71 

Vetches, 191 

Vine and fig-tree, 252 

Vineyards at Esheal, 283, 284 

Viper bite, 43 

charmer, 146 

, Daboia, 35, 146 

Vow, 261 
Vultures, 144, 194 



Wad-el-Bedoon, 185 

Wad-el-Dab'a, 185 

Wad el Khanzeer, 185 

Wad en-Nar, 93 

Wad er-Rahib, 93 

Wad-es-Sarrar, 57, 278 

Wad-es-Sumt, 278 

Wad et Tawaheen, 103 n », 106 

Wad-Faria, 214 

Wadies, 279 

Wady-Ali, 205 

Wad Ihnain, 295 

Wadyel-Biar, 106, 107, 112 

Wady Esmain, 59 

Wady Kelt, 149 

Wady-Urtas, 107 

Wakham (malaria), 40, 49 

Wandering bard, 221 

Wandering dervish, 72 

Waran (Psammosaurus scincus), 

17. 278 
War song. 273 
Water of eternal life, 76 
Watta (camel-hide shoes), 51 
Wawy, 190 
Wayfarers, 280 
Weapon, 53 
Welejeh. 61, 66 
Wely (see Makam), 5, 76, 79, 

81, 88, 293 
Well of souls, 94 
Whale of Jonah, 86 
Wheat- weUs, 151 
Wilderness feasts, 278 
Wilderness of Judah, 266 
Will-o'-the-wisp, 42 
Winter evening games, 264 
Winter grapes, 284 
Wolf, 179 
Wolves, 144 
Women of Israel, 272 

Yabneel (Yebna), 281 
Yahia (the commentator), 71 
Yahoor (Jews), 257 
Yalo (Ajalon), 206 
Yaman (faction). 259, 293 
Yamani (tribe), 110 
Yarghool (instrument), 259 
Yarmuth, 103 «=" 
Yemen, 259 
Yesmafn 'Ah. 53, 55, 58, 60 



INDEX 



309 



Za'ara (viper), 147 
Zaghartt, 121 
Zaghroot, 121, 272 
Zamenis carbonarius, 145 
Xamenis viridiflavus, 19 «^ 
Zaqum (see Oleaster), 42, 44 
Zbeeb (dried grapes), 290 
Zeboim, 17 

Zechariah, Intro, xiv, 103 n * 
Zeer (warrior), 259, 261 
Zeinati, 222 



Zerka, 181 

Zernuga, 294 

Zion, Intro, ix, x, 48, 89, 91, 93, 

94 
Zion's Gate, Jerusalem, 67, 237 
Zizyphus spina Christi, 35, 36 
Zoar, Intro, xvi, 17 
Zoomara, 249, 251 
Zorah, 204 
Zoreah, 56, 103 n» 



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